On the night of the draft, it isn’t all simply about young talent.
Say you are Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, for instance. Say you are looking for a guy with experience. Say you are looking for a deft passer who can play on the line with Steven Stamkos. Say you are looking for someone who can establish a bond with the fan base.
So, is everyone ready to forgive Marty St. Louis?
Okay, okay. St. Louis is a little long in the tooth at 40, and he just had a wretched post-season, and there is the entire matter of how he pouted his way out of town. But when St. Louis was here, he led this franchise in great moments. Might it be worth one more dance?
Evidently, the time between St. Louis and the New York Rangers is finished. The New York Post reported Friday that St. Louis is done in New York after two seasons. He finished this year with only one goal – against the Lightning – in 19 post-season games. His 52 regular-season points were his lowest in a decade.
Here, he was an old favorite. There, he was just old.
Still, when you think of how Stamkos’ line was incomplete all season, another tour with the Lightning is an intriguing thought. Yeah, yeah. Fans don’t forgive easily, even if Yzerman and St. Louis would. But when a guy is a 40-year-old free agent, he’s probably looking for a place to land.
When he was with the Lightning, St. Louis had at least 32 assists in 10 of 11 seasons. He had more great moments than any Tampa Bay player.
But St. Louis bruised a lot of feelings when he forced his way out of town, largely over an incident that didn’t even concern a Lightning team that paid him well over the years. It was about the Olympics, and for crying out loud, St. Louis was eventually named to the team.
For St. Louis, you wonder if it was worth it? He traded in his legacy for two seasons with the Rangers, where he wasn’t nearly as beloved as he was here.
Could a return happen? Almost certainly not. As a player, St. Louis’ days are mostly over. Even if the franchise and former fan favorite could get past the scars they left each other with, there is this: St. Louis would be an old guy on a young team, and eventually, he would have to go all over again. And wouldn’t that bruise some egos.
Someday, maybe St. Louis will be appreciated by Lightning fans.
For now, however, that book appears to be closed.