Steven Stamkos, the man who was almost a Ranger must be stopped

Expect a better Lundqvist in game 4 (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

Stamkos scores on Lundqvist (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos is on fire. Last night he assisted on the game winner and scored the insurance PP marker to boot. Even though he opened up the playoffs without a goal for 8 games, his confidence never wavered.

[su_quote cite=”” url=””]“I think for me, it was a great adversity test,” Stamkos said of the slump. “Our team was winning, which was great. The depth has prevailed all season for our team, but I knew I was playing the right way.”[/su_quote]

Now in the Eastern Conference Final he has 4 goals and 7 points in 5 games. Of course, this could be points he’s scoring for the Rangers instead of against them. Back in his rookie season, Stamkos was almost traded to the Rangers. How close was it? According to Larry Brooks back in 2010, there was a handshake.

[su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=””]“How close did we come?” Sather asked rhetorically, repeating the question we posed to him as the Rangers practiced in Tampa on Thursday. “We shook hands on it, that’s how close.[/su_quote]

Tampa Bay’s co-owner, Len Barrie was in conversations with Glen Sather back in 2008. As per Brooks, he was to choose 2 or 3 players from a list of Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev, and Dan Girardi. Although the final package was not revealed, Barrie made his choices then he and Slats shook on it.

The GM of the Lightning at the time, Brian Lawton who was a former Ranger was not pleased with what Barrie had done. Even though Barrie told Sather he could make the deal, in actuality he needed the approval of his partner.

[su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=””]“He went to run the deal by Brian Lawton, who wanted no part of it. As I understood it, the way it was told to me, Barrie was still going to make the deal, but then he was told that he couldn’t unless he got the approval of [co-owner] Oren Koules. “Koules shot it down,” said Sather. “That was the end of it.”[/su_quote]

So the man who could’ve been a Ranger has put the franchise’s back to the wall. The Rangers once wanted Stamkos to be their biggest offensive weapon, now they will need to shut him down.

Still, can you imagine how many Championships he and Lundqvist could have by now? No  matter what happens for the rest of this series, one of them will have a chance of getting their first in June.



Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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