There have already been reports that the New York Rangers are considering trading star Rick Nash this off-season, and now there is more talk of potential moves for GM Glen Sather and Co. this summer.
Next season, the Rangers will likely no longer have Martin St-Louis in the lineup, according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks. Brooks also added that St-Louis, a free agent, might not be the only familiar face not suiting up for the Blueshirts next season, as the Rangers are also looking into dealing backup netminder Cam Talbot.
The news that New York is unlikely to bring back St-Louis doesn’t come as a major shock. Though he did score 21 goals and 52 points in 74 games this past season, it was the veteran winger’s lowest point total since the 2002-03 season. That includes the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign in which St-Louis notched 17 goals and 60 points in 48 games.
He is set to turn 40 on June 18 and his age has left some wondering how much longer he’ll be suiting up in the NHL. St-Louis already has a Stanley Cup, Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, multiple Lady Byng Trophies and an Olympic Gold. Short of a World Championship gold, there’s little St-Louis hasn’t accomplished as a professional. That said, 52 points as a 39-year-old is a rather remarkable total and, were he to come back next season, there’s little doubt someone would take a shot on St-Louis.
St-Louis is coming out of the final season of a four-year deal that paid him an average of $5.625 million per season, but he would likely take a sizeable pay cut were he to keep playing in the NHL. Several players this past season, including Nashville’s Mike Ribeiro and St-Louis’ former teammate Brad Richards, took a lesser salary to prove they still had something to offer and both will certainly land contracts next season.
As for Talbot, the 27-year-old netminder still has one year remaining on a relatively cheap contract for a backup goaltender, but this could be a case of Talbot simply making himself too valuable for the Rangers to not consider moving him.
In 2014-15, after Lundqvist went down with injury, Talbot was forced to step between the pipes for New York for most of February and March, over which time he won 16 of 24 contests and was being heralded as one of the best young goaltenders in the game. With Lundqvist locked up until the culmination of the 2021 season at an average annual value of $8.5 million, there’s little room to spend more than Talbot’s $1.45 million on goaltending. As such, moving Talbot and bringing in players that can help in other areas to compliment an already sound Rangers lineup could be enough to put the Blueshirts over the top.
According to Brooks, there is a “significant amount of interest” in Talbot, which would likely include teams such as the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks, who will be relying on Alexander Stalock as their starting goaltender this upcoming season.