The New York Rangers landed one of the best players available on NHL Trade Deadline day, acquiring Martin St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan, a first-round pick and a conditional second-round choice Wednesday.
Not only is it rare for teams to trade captains, but each team is among the contenders in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman confirmed St. Louis had requested a trade, and Callahan will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The first-round pick is in the 2015 NHL Draft and the conditional second-round selection is in 2014. The second-round pick becomes a first-round pick if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final this season. Also, if Callahan signs a contract with the Lightning, the Rangers would receive Tampa Bay's second-round pick in 2015 in exchange for New York's seventh-round choice in 2015.
"I think right now, you get down there and get settled and maybe get used to my surroundings, and then once that happens, I'm open to anything," Callahan told TSN. "If that's contract talks, it is, but if not, then we see what happens in July."
St. Louis won the Hart and Art Ross trophies in 2004 and won the Art Ross again in 2013. He enters play Wednesday tied for eighth in the League with 61 points (29 goals). The 38-year-old forward has 973 points in 1,041 games, and four 90-point seasons.
He has 388 points in 351 games since the start of the 2009-10 season, which is the most points in the League. St. Louis has one year remaining on his contract worth $5.625 million.
"[St. Louis] has been one of the greatest players in the organization's history but in the end we honored his request today," Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said in a release.
Callahan has 11 goals and 25 points in 45 games this season and represented the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He was named captain of the Rangers on Sept. 12, 2011. His best season came in 2011-12, when he had 29 goals and 54 points in 76 games.
"The Lightning are very excited to have Ryan Callahan join the organization and help us in our quest to make the playoffs," Yzerman said. "Ryan is an outstanding player and leader who we look forward to seeing on the ice [Thursday] night."
Callahan has missed 17 games this season because of injury and played in 60 games in 2010-11. St. Louis has missed a total of seven games since the start of the 2002-03 season.
"I've heard nothing but good things from players that have played there," Callahan said. "... They're in the playoff hunt too, which is big. I'm excited to get down there to Tampa and get going."
St. Louis reportedly requested a trade from the Lightning after originally being left off the Canada Olympic team. Yzerman, who was in charge of picking that team, eventually named him as a replacement for injured teammate Steven Stamkos.
St. Louis also was left off the Canada team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which Yzerman was in charge of selecting. St. Louis spent most of the 2014 tournament as Canada's 13th forward.
The Rangers reportedly were negotiating with Callahan's representatives on a new contract. New York this season signed goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Dan Girardi, who were going to be UFAs at the end of the season, to long-term contracts.
"I truly thought that we'd work something out that worked for both sides," Callahan said. "I said all along going through this I wanted to stay there and I wanted to get a deal done, and that was the truth.
"But that's part of the business, that unfortunately you have to deal with, and we couldn't find a deal that worked for both sides."