How Long Can Marty St. Louis Produce For?
The burning question most Ranger fans are asking in the wake of the “Captain Swap” is how long can St. Louis produce for? Father Time works differently for each individual but there are clues that can provide the answer.
The Rangers have had their share of “old guys” who may have overstayed their welcome. Marcel Dionne was acquired at the tender age of 35 and played 2 and half seasons on Broadway. Surprisingly, he was fairly effective but at age 37 was only able to put up 23 points in 37 games before calling it quits.
Or what about Phil Esposito who suffered a major decline in production from the age of 37 to 38? Espo scored 78 points in 80 games to only amass 20 points in 41 games before retiring.
Marty St. Louis is 38 and is close to a point per game pace. He is still producing so what gives? Well today’s athletes take much better care of themselves for starters. So let’s look at players in the modern era that have played well past their 40th birthday to get our answer. For that, we start with our very own Mark Messier.
Mark was nicknamed “The Moose” in Edmonton because he was built like one. Messier was the embodiment of what a power center was in the NHL for much of the 80’s and 90’s. We all know how great Mess was, but we’re looking for clues on how St. Louis will produce in his 40’s. Here are Mark’s stats from 38 on:
When you see these numbers you start to worry if the bottom is about to drop off soon with St. Louis. Messier was far from a point a game player by this time and his style took a toll on his body. However, the sharpest decline comes at the magic number of 41. But, St. Louis is not a power forward, he is a finesse guy. So is there a better comparable? You bet and he is still playing today, Teemu Selanne.
Selanne and St. Louis are scoring forwards who make room for themselves on the ice using their speed and brains. One glance at Teemu’s stats and you can see a glimpse of what the future could hold for the newest Ranger.
While Teemu may have dipped a bit at 39, he rebounded in style at the age of 40! 80 points in 73 games is mind blowing. Sure he slipped the next season to 66 points, but he played every game and looks to be capable to continue doing so.
The numbers do reveal that his decline started at 41 also and continues to fade with limited playing time to boot. Can Marty St. Louis defy the odds and produce past 41?
Only he and time will answer that question, but there is no reason not to believe that St. Louis will produce at high level for the next 2-3 seasons. Which poses a very interesting question to Sather next summer when he is a UFA. Should the Rangers extend him?
All I have to say to Glen Sather is, YES! Do it now if you can. Marty may even extend his contract for less than the demands Ryan Callahan made. Lock him up until he’s 41 or 42 and watch him fly.
Make no mistake, this New York Rangers team can win and Stanley Cup within the next 3 years, and it just might be Marty St. Louis that gets them there.