Martin St. Louis being voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility was no surprise to his longtime Tampa Bay Lightning teammate, Vincent Lecavalier.
"I was really happy for him," Lecavalier said. "I wasn't surprised from everything he's done for hockey, the Lightning, the [New York] Rangers and what he's done for the NHL."
St. Louis had 1,033 points (391 goals, 642 assists) in 16 NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Lightning and Rangers.
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He and Lecavalier were integral parts of the Lightning's Stanley Cup championship in 2004, when St. Louis won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, the Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring leader and the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players' Association.
"It's always nice to see a good friend and a player you played with be honored in such a way," Lecavalier said. "It's the biggest individual honor you can get. It shows how much you've done for the sport."
St. Louis, who was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy as the most gentlemanly player in the NHL three times (2010, 2011, 2013) and played in the NHL All-Star Game six times, is the Lightning's all-time leader in points (953), assists (588), power-play points (300), shorthanded goals (28), game-winning goals (64) and overtime goals (10). He also has the most goals (33) and points (68) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Tampa Bay history.
He had his No. 26 retired by the Lightning on Jan. 17, 2017. The team retired Lecavalier's No. 4 on Feb. 10.
"Obviously everything he's done on the ice is incredible," Lecavalier said. "But Marty was probably the hardest-working guy, dedicated to the game, great teammate, great leader and obviously a huge part in us winning the Stanley Cup. He's done so much for me personally as a player and as a friend. He's just done so much for the game of hockey."
Video: Martin St. Louis named 2018 HHOF inductee
St. Louis joins Dave Andreychuk, who was inducted in 2017, as the second player from the 2004 Lightning championship team elected to the Hall of Fame.
Andreychuk said St. Louis, who went undrafted largely because of his small size (5-foot-8), is an inspiration to any player trying to make it to the NHL.
"He is definitely a guy that not only our Lightning players, but there are kids across the world that look at Marty St. Louis and they're inspired by what he's done," Andreychuk said. "An undrafted player, smaller than average, the heart of a lion and what he's accomplished. Marty understands that. He gets that. I think he carries that around with him.
"He's a mentor for all these kids that never got drafted or are undersized that you can put yourself in the Hockey Hall of Fame."