Next season may be a question for Martin St. Louis, but a long term future with Hartford is a must!
Every hockey website and every Rangers writer is already putting in their two cents on Martin St. Louis. The soon to be 40 year old winger, looked every bit his age this post season. A playoffs that saw him generate only 1 goal in 19 games.
When MSL was asked about his future just moments after losing game 7, he responded predictably with, “I’m not even thinking about that right now.” This summer, Marty will be an unrestricted free agent, but he already gave us his answer.
“I definitely want to play more than one year,” he told TSN Radio. “When camp starts I am sure that we will talk about it. They had a lot to do and I wasn’t too worried about it.” This was back in September, but his sentiments have not changed.
Martin St. Louis just finished the final year of a 4 year contract worth 22.5 million dollars. The cap hit was 5.25 million per season. You would have to assume that he may seek numbers very similar on his next deal, but should the Rangers do it? If, he is looking for this kind of numbers, the answer is no.
Realistically, we have to view the current Rangers lineup and realize that players like Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and possibly Jesper Fast have earned a shot at more ice time. MSL is looking more likely to be a 3rd liner if the Rangers choose to bring him back.
Let’s not forget that Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast are all restricted free agents. In the case of Stepan and Carl Hagelin, the Blueshirts don’t really have the same leverage as the others. If NY chooses to play hardball, they may sit or only agree to a 1 year deal that could lead to them walking for nothing as UFA’s. Stepan is going to want #1 center money, and I’m not even sure he is worth it, but he will get it elsewhere. After these playoffs, Hagelin has also raised some eyebrows.
So with these facts in hand, MSL should only be extended a very low offer for 1 year, maybe two. However, would he accept a deal at $1-2 million? We all know that he wants to be close to his family in Connecticut, but that could be accomplished with several teams in the Northeast, meaning he could have other options.
Almost all the papers and blogs are saying to cut ties and let him go. Although, he wasn’t very good this season, he still was the 2nd leading goal scorer on the team (tied at 21 with Chris Kreider). Letting him walk without a plan is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Plus, if you are strictly looking at MSL for his on ice production, you are missing a big part of the picture.
MSL is a consummate professional. Those who I’ve spoken to, that have played with him say he is the hardest working guy in the room. He is a leader and someone players look up to. Marty also loves to teach and work with the younger players. His future in NY could go well beyond his playing days.
Through a contact in Hartford, I learned the Rangers would like to try and keep Marty in the organization in a role with the Wolf Pack. A future in Hartford would put Marty even closer to his family (Actually, it takes 10 minutes longer to drive to Hartford from Greenwich, but NYC traffic can change that easy). Something he probably thought of when he initially demanded to be traded to the Rangers, and the Rangers only. Is coaching in Marty’s future? Or a role in upper management? All these could be future roles for one of hockey’s greats.
While the pundits and bloggers all think the answer to let Marty walk is an easy one, it’s not. This is a future hall of famer, that in the right role could help the Rangers future remain bright. To me, the Rangers should bring him back. The only real question is for how much and in what capacity? These answers will come this summer.