Lightning owner Jeff Vinik spoke twice with ex-captain Martin St. Louis — prior to Wednesday’s blockbuster deal to the Rangers — about rescinding his trade demand and staying in Tampa Bay, according to the Tampa Tribune.
Despite holding two sit-down discussions with St. Louis to let him know how much he meant to the organization and community, Vinik was one of many who were unable to talk St. Louis out of requesting a move to the Rangers. The trade happened Wednesday and landed RW Ryan Callahan, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional second-round pick in 2014 that turns into a first-round pick if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals this season.
“We would’ve loved to have seen Marty finish his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning sweater on,’’ Vinik said. “I was very direct in telling him that my dream is that you finish your career here and you lead us to another Stanley Cup.
“But I understand Marty’s reasons. It played out the way it did and we wish him well. He’s been a great player for this organization, is arguably the best player we’ve had in our history, and I hope things go great for him and his family in New York.’’
Vinik also confirmed New York was the lone team St. Louis was willing to accept a trade to, and that the Lightning have received calls from irate season ticket-holders displeased that St. Louis was dealt.
That said, the Tribune noted Thursday was “the best day to date in terms of adding renewals for season tickets since notices went out last month.”