Martin St. Louis would have been in the final year of a six-year deal this season. Entering this past summer, he was about to play for a fourth owner, a fourth coach and a third general manager in three years, conditions seemingly ripe for St. Louis looking to move on from Tampa.
The Rangers, according to league sources, would have been ready to pounce — John Tortorella helped turn St. Louis into a star and the coach would have loved to reunite with his former Lightning charge.
But then Steve Yzerman stepped in. As president and GM of the Lightning, Yzerman’s presence helped make St. Louis’ decision easy, and he signed a four-year, $22.5-million extension that likely will take him to the end of his NHL career.
“He’s a guy who gave this organization instant credibility,” said St. Louis, who at 35 is third in the league with 26 points while riding shotgun for Steven Stamkos. “There could have come a time when I thought about moving elsewhere, but Steve came in and I knew this was the right place.”