MartinStLouis


Martin St. Louis will be a hit in Broadway Blue.

 

The 2014 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, leaving us with undoubtedly the most jaw-dropping few days of high profile transactions we’ve seen in the cap-era! The quantity wasn’t what we’ve become accustomed to; of the depth stocking variety. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek had even cleverly coined the recently anti-climactic day as Tweak Deadline Day. However, this year’s General Manager gut-check week will certainly be remembered as the year of the goalie (with half a dozen bona fide starters moved). Perennial, high-priced All-Stars, such as Tomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik & Martin St.Louis all found new homes.

 

The latter of which was possibly the most jarring, given that he Tampa Bay Lightning squad is in the midst prepping for a playoff, having just received the world’s top sniper, Steven Stamkos, back from a long layoff.  St.Louis has been one of the league’s best in 2014, having seen several spikes of fantastic output (usually when he has a chip on his shoulder, which we’ve seen prove true at times!)

 

1st quarter of 2013-14


forensics 1

 

2nd quarter of 2013-14

 

forensics 2

 

It may not be revealed for a while, or forever, what the actual reason was for GM, Steve Yzerman to flip the reigning Art Ross Trophy holder at this stage in the game, without an expiring deal. However, it has been well-documented the suspicions were both family-related & dictated by the pint-sized star for lack of respect in national team considerations by his very own GM.

 

Whatever the case, it’s time to digest what has transpired and move forward as the diminutive forward still has plenty to offer, despite pushing 40 years of age. In The Big Apple, St.Louis should thrive with yet another of the game’s more decorated snipers, Rick Nash; who with one more tally, will give him his 10th straight campaign with 20+ goals—The longest active streak in the league.

 

St.Louis has also been re-united with former teammate, Brad Richards, with whom they won Lord Stanley’s Cup together exactly a decade ago. They had plenty of success together, helping St.Louis earn his first of two Art Ross trophies, terrorizing the NHL for a few years. That old magic was instantly utilized by Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault, pairing off the two old friends on New York’s top line.

 

Frozen Pools Most Frequent Linemate Combo Generator

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

68.37%

EV

62 HAGELIN,CARL - 19 RICHARDS,BRAD - 26 ST. LOUIS,MARTIN

6.12%

PP

16 BRASSARD,DERICK - 67 POULIOT,BENOIT - 19 RICHARDS,BRAD - 26 ST. LOUIS,MARTIN

6.12%

EV

19 RICHARDS,BRAD - 26 ST. LOUIS,MARTIN

 

Right off the bat the two were situated together on both even strength and on the man-advantage. What struck me as odd, while taking in the game (aside from obviously seeing him in Manhattan blue), was St.Louis perched on the left wing at times. This could be an interesting experiment, although I don’t see why Vigneault would try to alter St.Louis’ positional status, given his success on the right wing.

 

The duo didn’t combine for any output in their first game together since deadline day 2007, when Richards was sent packing to Dallas. However, they did seem to click at times. It’ll be interesting to see if old chemistry will be found and if so, how long it’ll take. I don’t suspect too long. In fact, we should expect St. Louis to continue on with the excellent performances we’ve seen from him the past few years, as he was never really dependent on other superstars being on his line.

 

Many pundits, fans and analysts seemingly forget that while being gifted one of the game’s best players on his line the past half-decade, St.Louis outscored Stamkos last season in even games. Moreover, he’s shown for the vast majority of this season, without Stammer, that he can be perfectly productive without any bona fide stars. Adding a player of Brad’s quality to his left (or right) will only be a boon to him. St.Louis will surely increase Richards’ value as well.

 

St.Louis, has flourished deep into his 30’s, and has shown no signs of slowing down. He has scored more goals than a healthy Sidney Crosby, and is projected to finish with 38, the same digits as his age! In fact, only four players in the league have found the twine more than the former Lightning captain so far this season as can be seen below. He’s just a tad below a point per game which projects him to finish with 81 points. Not too shabby at all for the veteran! You can only expect him to flourish further, as he now has two world class forwards to play the powerplay with (Nash & Richards) as opposed to just Stamkos.


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All in all, it’s sad to see him jump ship when the Lightning were ready to strike! That being said, it’s a great opportunity for St.Louis to reinvigorate himself for possibly the last destination of his career. The opportunity is there for the taking. Expect a lot of what you’ve become accustomed to in his dozen years in Florida, as his psyche is too strong to let the big lights of New York become a distraction. I would even wager to say his 0.97 PPG clip may actually take a bump up to 1.0 to 1.1 given the Brad Richards full time pairing. Therefore instead of the 81 points he’s projected to hit now, I’d adjust that for about 85 points.

 

Give Anthony Lancione a follow on Twitter @Anthisdaman

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