Stempniak, St. Louis Move on Deal-Filled Day
Martin St. Louis told Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman more than once he wanted to play for another team.
The reigning NHL scoring leader got his wish — hours before the league’s trade deadline — in one of 20 trades that involved 38 players Wednesday.
Tampa Bay dealt its unhappy captain and former University of Vermont star to the New York Rangers for their rugged captain, Ryan Callahan.
“Are we better? I don’t know,” Yzerman acknowledged at a news conference. “We’re different.”
St. Louis, who ranks among league leaders this season, should help the Rangers’ chances of finishing among the top three in the Metropolitan Division to avoid falling into the Eastern Conference’s wild-card logjam.
Callahan joins a Lightning team that hopes his grit and soon having star Steven Stamkos in the lineup for the first time since he broke his right leg in November will help them be in the Atlantic Division’s top three when the regular season ends April 13.
Also, the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins acquired two-way forwards Marcel Goc from the Florida Panthers and former Dartmouth College standout Lee Stempniak from the Calgary Flames in exchange for draft picks after making a fruitless run at Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, who stayed with the Canucks.
Pittsburgh sent a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft to Florida in exchange for Goc, while the Flames received a 2014 third-round pick for Stempniak.
The 31-year-old Stempniak had five goals and 18 assists in 52 games with Calgary. He rejoins former Big Green teammate Tanner Glass in Pittsburgh. At Dartmouth, the two forwards combined for 109 points from 2003-05.
In another deal, the Boston Bruins obtained defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2014 third-round draft choice.
The 28-year-old Meszaros played 38 games this season for the Flyers with five goals and 12 assists. The nine-year veteran’s first two seasons with the Flyers were limited by a back injury in 2011-12, Achilles tendon surgery after that season and a shoulder injury in 2012-13.
The Bruins also claimed 30-year-old defenseman Corey Potter off waivers from Edmonton. The six-year veteran has five assists in 16 games this season.
Boston had been seeking a veteran defenseman after Dennis Seidenberg suffered a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 27 against Ottawa. They’ve also been without defenseman Adam McQuaid since he hurt his leg Jan. 19.
The Bruins, in second place in the Eastern Conference, have allowed 138 goals this season, second-fewest in the NHL. But their defense has declined since losing Seidenberg and McQuaid.
Here’s a look at some other trade-deadline observations as teams made moves — or chose not to — in an attempt to get in a better position for the playoffs in the hopes of hoisting the Stanley Cup in three months.
Goalie Go-Round: The Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues made a big splash Friday, acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller, to perhaps improve enough to at least reach the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2001. The Sabres acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak as part of the deal and dealt him four days later to the Washington Capitals, who hope he can help them close the regular season well enough to earn a spot in the playoffs.
The Florida Panthers are almost mathematically out of the playoff race, but they’re putting Roberto Luongo back in their net for the future after giving up on him in the past. After lots of talk about the possibility, the Vancouver Canucks finally decided to part ways with Luongo.
To make room for Luongo, the Panthers traded goalie Tim Thomas, another ex-UVM star, to Dallas. Minnesota also acquired goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton.
Montreal’s Maneuver: Some teams stayed out of the fray for big names because they didn’t want to pay a steep price for a player, especially one with an expiring contract. The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, made what seems to be a shrewd move. The Canadiens acquired high-scoring forward Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders for a prospect, second-round pick and conditional fifth-round selection. Vanek, who becomes Montreal’s leading scorer, has 53 points this season and 541 in his nine-year career, which was spent in Buffalo until he was traded to the Islanders early this season.
Coming Home: The banged-up Detroit Red Wings, who are without four players who could play center, brought David Legwand back to play next to his hometown of Grosse Pointe, Mich., as they cling to hopes of playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 23rd straight time.
Moulson on the Move: Matt Moulson will play for his third team when he suits up for Minnesota. He started his fifth season with the Islanders and was traded Oct. 27 to Buffalo with draft picks for Vanek. The forward with 17 goals, 38 points and an expiring contract was dealt again on Wednesday along with center Cody McCormick to the Wild for a pair of second-round picks and fourth-line forward Torrey Mitchell.
Full list of transactions on scoreboard, page B6.