The New York Rangers have traded winger Ryan Callahan, a first-round pick in 2014 and a conditional second round pick in 2014 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis.


Lightning ship Martin St. Louis to Rangers for Ryan Callahan.

Lightning ship Martin St. Louis to Rangers for Ryan Callahan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move could be the blockbuster of the day , as well as the most surprising. Sure, it was rumored last week but few expected it would actually happen. It’s also a true hockey trade, swapping a couple of star players.

 This move is a winner for the Rangers in the short term, adding a high-scoring, respected veteran in St. Louis who can replace the leadership of Callahan. He has one season left on his contract, after which he could re-sign with the Rangers if he chooses.

It’s probably a short-term move for the Lightning, unless they’re willing to pony up the expensive asking price (seven-year, $6.75 million per season) to keep him in Tampa Bay. The draft picks can be seen as insurance in case Callahan departs this summer, but I don’t see how this move improves the Lightning’s scoring.  Perhaps it will lift the uncertainty and tension which hovered over the Bolts since St. Louis was initially passed over for Team Canada by Steve Yzerman.

I realize Yzerman’s critics are busting his chops about not selecting St. Louis for Team Canada, but who expected the Lightning captain to take it that badly? Still, he could’ve told St. Louis to wait until the summer. Unless things were more volatile than we believed, and unless Yzerman can make another move to bolster his lineup, moving St. Louis now makes no sense.

TSN reports if Callahan re-signs with the Lightning the Rangers receive a draft pick from the Bolts. If the Rangers advance to the Eastern Conference Final, that second round pick they’re sending to the Bolts becomes a first round pick.