It’s way too early to declare a winner of the Martin St. Louis/Ryan Callahan trade, but let’s just say the Lightning organization probably doesn’t have many complaints right about now.
Last night, Callahan scored to two goals to help lift the Lightning to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Islanders. Callahan now has four goals and four assists in the 11 games since being shipped to Tampa. The Lightning have gained points in ten of those eleven games (6-1-4).
Meanwhile, in New York, St. Louis has been held goalless with just two assists and recently had to battle the flu. Despite St. Louis’ scoring slump the Rangers are 8-3-1 since the trade deadline.
Here’s Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on Callahan’s positive impact (via NHL.com)…
“He’s been with us for 10 games and we’ve got points in nine. By no means am I sitting here saying that it’s all because of Ryan Callahan, but he is a piece of the puzzle we needed. Anybody that looked at our team saw a skilled, fast team; he brings another element to us. He can play below both dots and he has the ability to put the puck in the net. He’s first over the boards in the power play and penalty kill. He’s been a big part of our success and he’s a good fit for us.”
Callahan says so far, so good in Tampa (via Newsday)…
“You just play the way you know you can play. There’s no added pressure on you. You know they brought you here for a reason, so just go out and be the same player you’ve been.”
…i don’t think any Rangers fan is shocked to hear Callahan has gone to Tampa and impressed his new organization and fan base. He’s a hard working, maximum effort player, who does the dirty work to help a team win. Not much to hate there.
…but for those of you upset at Sather or feel the Rangers got the raw end of the deal, you have to remember Callahan virtually forced himself out of the organization with his absurd contract demands. Sure it looks bad that Sather didn’t give him an extension now, but check back with me in a few years when Callahan’s ridiculous contract is keeping the Sabres, or whoever else is foolish enough to cave to his demands, from filling holes in the lineup, while he’s only able to play 55 games a year. The problem with signing Callahan to a long-term contract wasn’t the first three years, it was justifying $6M + per for the remainder of it.
…also, St. Louis is too good of a player not to figure it out. Yeah, it’s frustrating now, but when he finally hits his stride in the playoffs we’re going to be thankful that Sather was able to turn a beloved figure in the organization into much needed scoring.