Upon suggesting this, I'm half convinced that someone is going to start up a Don't Trade Marty blog on blogspot by the end of the week. This is by no means what I'm suggesting they do (yet), just something to think about as a possibility. Now in the future, trading away Martin St. Louis may become a reality for Lightning fans and it will cause some uproar among the faithful (yes all 10 of you).

Now back in April after the season ended, St. Louis told the media that he might request a trade if the Lightning's rebuilding effort during the summer doesn't turn the team into a playoff contender. Things have changed a little, but based on Vinik and Yzerman's press conference the other day, it was stressed that it would not be a quick one year fix.

Post continued after the jump...

Martin St. Louis, at the age of 34, is in the last year of his contract at a cap hit of $5.25 million per season (he made $4 million this season). Again he's 34 right now, turning 35 on June 18th. So going forwards, if Yzerman looks to re-sign St. Louis to a new contract he will have to take in to account not only St. Louis' age, but the 35 and older clause.

What is this 35 and older clause?

I looked to Blueshirt Banter's understanding of the salary cap to get an idea, basically it goes like this:

  • If you are 35 by June 30th at the time of signing a new contract, the signing team must take a cap hit for each year of the contract, regardless if the player retires
  • If you waive a player and send him down to the minors, $100, 000 is taken off of the cap hit

So if Yzerman wants to extend St. Louis contract he will have to take this into account and with already so much money committed to Lecavalier's contract and future contracts for Stamkos and Hedman, re-signing St. Louis is not so easy. If he retires before his contract is over that puts the Lightning in a bad position with regards to his cap hit still counting.

If Yzerman is committed to thinking in the long term, St. Louis and Lecavalier have to be evaluated as teachers, not just for their offensive output. There will come a time when the young guys have learned as much as they can from St. Louis and Lecavalier, and the leadership will need to be passed on to Stamkos and Hedman. At that point, assuming a decline in productivity with age, their contracts may no longer benefit the teams overall success. This question will be bigger for Lecavalier than St. Louis since his ginormous contract is already in place, but still something that will be needed to be taken into consideration.

St. Louis does bring more to the team than just scoring and leadership, he is also said to be a great locker room guy but Yzerman will have to figure out what the tradeoff for leadership is and is trading him better for the team in the long run.

Rebuilding is a slow process and St. Louis' trade value is highest right now after his stellar season. If he wants to move to a wining team, the Lightning can move him during the summer in a trade or if they won't make the playoffs, at the trade deadline next year.