Lightning and Rangers: A New Rivalry Brewing?

Martin St. Louis, the biggest name that came from the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Credit: Getty Images)

Martin St. Louis, the biggest name that came from the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Credit: Getty Images)

Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, and Anton Stralman. Three former Rangers who are now on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis, Dominic Moore, Dan Boyle, and Mike Kostka. Five former Lightning players who are now New York Rangers.

While the Rangers seem to have a thing for nabbing former Lightning (and for that matter Blue Jackets) players, could this be the start of a new rivalry?

If you look at the Rangers and Blue Jackets, they are now in the same conference, and the same division. That in and of itself guarantees five games head to head against one another, and more chances to see some bad blood that can carry over from one game to the next.

With the Lightning, yes you’re going to see some intense games. You’re going to see the three former Rangers play their hardest, throw some hits on former friends and teammates (Brandon Prust on Derek Stepan anyone?), and really try to play hard.

Ryan Callahan will return to the Garden 11/17 (NHL)

Ryan Callahan will return to the Garden 11/17 (NHL)

There is some unrest for the three former Blueshirts now Lightning. Callahan wanted to remain a Ranger, but extension talks between the two sides fell apart, he was then traded on deadline day to Tampa for Martin St. Louis.

Fast forward to free agency, both Brian Boyle, and Stralman were left out of the Rangers plans. That allowed them to be wooed by their old buddy Cally to Tampa. So there will likely be chips on these shoulders wanting to show the Rangers they made a mistake.

Let’s not forget about Marty St. Louis who was snubbed by Steve Yzerman and the selection committee from the 2014 Olympics. MSL approached Yzerman, who is also Tampa’s GM about being traded to NY because of that and desire to be closer to home.

While the other former Lightning were long removed in Dan Boyle and Dominic Moore, Ryan Malone made his own bed in Tampa and had to apologize.

Will there be extra motivation for Callahan, Stralman and Brian Boyle? No doubt about it. That would also hold true for Marty St. Louis, but a rivalry brewing? I don’t think so. If this goes and turns into a nasty playoff series? Well then, now you have a the potential for a real rivalry.

Emotions tend to run high throughout the playoffs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these two teams met that it would get a little heated. The following year would be the most telling as most teams reset back to normal. Although, the losing team will remember what happened the previous year, it doesn’t always mean it will translate to a rivalry.

However, there are enough story lines for both sides that would lend itself to one. There is an underlying animosity that builds and erupts when both teams clash. If there is a rivalry here, we will find out on November 17th when Ryan Callahan and crew come to the Garden.

Oh! You may also want to save the date when Marty St. Louis returns to Tampa on November 26th. Who knows, maybe something is brewing. It sure will be fun to find out.