Things didn’t go so well for Martin St. Louis in his first 19 regular season games with the Rangers, but the trade for him on March 5th was never about the 82 games between October and April.
The deal was made because A) New York wasn’t going to re-sign Ryan Callahan and wanted max value in return, and B) St. Louis is of capable of carrying the Rangers much deeper into the postseason than Callahan is at this stage.
So sure, one goal in 19 games was a disappointment, and eight total points was pretty unimpressive. But everyone goes through a slump, and St. Louis clearly had a major adjustment to make upon arriving in the Big Apple.
Now that the games really matter, St. Louis has become an invaluable asset. In just three postseason tilts, he has two goals and three assists. Meanwhile, Callahan just went point-less in a four-game sweep at the hands of Montreal.
St. Louis has been over a point-per-game player in the playoffs in his career, while Callahan has managed just 24 points in 63 career postseason games. Despite Callahan’s numerous other contributions, St. Louis’ instant offense is something that had been missing from the Rangers, and Callahan’s best tools didn’t serve him or the team as well with Alain Vigneault as they did with John Tortorella.
The blockbuster deal may have appeared to be an early win for Tampa Bay when Callahan racked up 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 20 games with his new club, but it’s looking a whole lot less clear now. It was a swap both teams had to make, and we won’t know for years what the two high draft choices the Rangers also sent south turn into, nor do we know if Callahan will re-up with the Bolts. But the latest indications are that St. Louis is going to end up being exactly what the Rangers hoped for when they pulled the trigger on the shocking deadline deal.