There’s no questioning where Martin St. Louis wants to play hockey, but will the New York Rangers have to turn away the NHL vet?
As the regular season comes to a close, the New York Rangers will soon have to decide from their list of upcoming free agents who will be on next year’s roster. It’s no small task for any team, yet with a looming deficit in cap space and a few big names on the list, choosing who to stay and who to let go becomes quite the challenge.
That’s exactly what General Manager, Glen Sather, is faced with and Martin St. Louis‘ fate rests in his hands as a result.
New York Rangers
St. Louis began playing hockey professionally over 20 years ago in his hometown with the Laval-Laurentides of the QAAA. After attending the University of Vermont, he had his first taste of the NHL during the 1998-99 season with the Calgary Flames. His performance with the Flames was nothing short of respectable, but it wasn’t until he put on a white and blue uniform that the Quebec native would really dazzle.
Out of his 13 seasons spent with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marty recorded over 60 points not just once. Not twice. But 11 times. And at his best during the 2006-07 season, Marty recorded a phenomenal 102 points with 43 goals.
When it seemed like he would be a Bolt forever, Marty came to New York upon his own request in an extremely controversial trade. Not only did it upset Lightning fans, but Rangers fans as well as they were forced to say goodbye to Captain Ryan Callahan. Over time however, much of New York would soon forget the terms on which Marty got there.
During the Rangers’ race to the Stanley Cup last year, St. Louis’ mother had suddenly passed away. Instead of backing out of the race, Marty continued to play and shortly after, he scored a goal on Mother’s Day. When that happened, many people saw the true extent of his resilience and it had seemed like an inspiration not only to the fans, but to the entire Rangers organization as well.
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Fast forward to today and the 39-year-old has made an overall strong case to remain in New York. With one game left to his first full season as a Blueshirt, he has collected 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points. Despite a knee injury in mid-March, this makes Marty the second highest Ranger in the goals column (tied with Chris Kreider) and fourth under points.
It’s a long drop in production from his glory days, but when you rack up over a hundred points of course it’s going to be extremely difficult to replicate those numbers. Especially all the while that goaltenders are becoming bigger and making faster and smarter plays every year. So in reality, Marty never lost much of that competitive edge. He’s proven that with the Rangers, but will Marty get a chance to prove that again?
St. Louis recently expressed his hope to keep playing in the Big Apple, per Larry Brooks of the New York Post. That much is sure, but whether or not GM Glen Sather can accommodate Marty in the Rangers roster is still cloudy.
Marty’s current contract is worth an average $5.625 million per year. Meanwhile the cap space is about $200,000 and there are other big fish to fry such as Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin. There’s no telling for sure whether the cap will grow enough to fit all three stars, but chances are it won’t.
So if it comes down to it, who out of the three will the Rangers be forced to part with? Could be one of them, or all three of them, nobody knows for sure and at this point and who knows if Sather knows himself.
But what every fan and everybody involved in the NHL knows is that Marty has an absolute passion for the game and his profession. Hopefully he can continue to show that with a team he cares about just as much: the New York Rangers.