Columnist: Lightning fans should thank St. Louis for trade demand

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Marty St. Louis is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey and for a brief time he was also their captain. Still, some fans might chose to voice their displeasure over his decision to demand a trade while the team was preparing for a playoff run when he returns to Amalie Arena on Wednesday for the first time since that deal

Tampa Bay Times writer Joe Smith argued that he did the team a favor though:

At the time, it hurt … But St. Louis didn’t want to be here, no matter his reasons. And that Tampa Bay, having the ability to negotiate with just the Rangers, was able to snag wing Ryan Callahan along with two first-round picks may end up being a steal, especially considering how deep next year’s draft is.

Tampa Bay also got a chance to move on. This was always going to be Steven Stamkos’ team eventually. The trade just sped up the process. And with an extremely young group of players, along with a relatively new coach in Jon Cooper, that culture could be created with a more seamless process. St. Louis was the last link to the old guard.

The Lightning traded away one of those two first-round picks to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 35th and 57th selections in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft (Dominik Masin and Johnathan MacLeod respectively). The Lightning still control the Rangers’ top pick in 2015.

Of course, while this trade might end up benefiting Tampa Bay in the long run, St. Louis’ time isn’t over yet. He might be 39 years old, but he’s still playing at an elite level with eight goals and 17 points in 20 contests. He’ll be taking a four-game point streak with him to Tampa Bay.