Sunday, 16 March 2014

Maybe NYC Isn't A Fit

There have been a lot of people who have been hammering Martin St. Louis for asking for a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the New York Rangers. While St. Louis' reputation has been tarnished with his demand to be traded out of Tampa Bay, his season stats seem to have nosedived along with his play as well. While New York was his preferred destination, staying in Tampa Bay may have been better for his style of play. St. Louis hasn't looked right in New York yet, and the Rangers are still waiting for the 38 year-old scoring dynamo to light the lamp with some regularity.

Martin St. Louis was a point-per-game player with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He had recorded 61 points in 62 games this season as a member of the Florida-based club, and managed to gather most of those points without the services of Steven Stamkos alongside him. Those are pretty solid numbers considering that big gap in the Lightning lineup.

Since being traded to New York, though, St. Louis hasn't looked like the same player. He has just two assists in the seven games he's played with the Rangers, and he seems to be lost in the Rangers' system so far. He has no chemistry with former Lightning teammate Brad Richards, and he looks much slower than he did in Tampa Bay. So what gives? What's wrong with St. Louis?

I'll offer this suggestion: it's not the player, but the system he's in. His linemates - Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards - have 32 goals together, and neither are the fleet-of-foot linemates St. Louis was playing with in Tampa Bay. Alain Vigneault also has the Rangers playing a defence-first style of play which isn't as aggressive as the system used by Jon Cooper in Tampa Bay.

So will we see St. Louis break out? My guess is no. The Rangers have scored just 15 goals since acquiring St. Louis, and have been held to two goals or less in five of those seven games. This isn't just one player not finding the back of the net in St. Louis, but an entire team that struggles to generate goals in a league where three goals per game gets wins. New York has been worse than their season average of 2.51 goals-per-game since acquiring St. Louis who was supposed to generate more offence for the club!

The Rangers were shut out once more today as the San Jose Sharks skated out of MSG with a 1-0 victory. The Rangers generated a number of chances, to their credit, but were unable to put any pucks behind Antti Niemi. No one is faulting the Rangers for the chances they generated, but wins are only counted when you score goals. Marty St. Louis isn't scoring goals nor is he setting players up for goals.

Results speak volumes, and Marty St. Louis got results in Tampa Bay. Ironically, Ryan Callahan was traded away from New York for his lack of production while demanding a massive new contract, and now he's recorded one goal and a pair of assists in five Tampa Bay games. For a guy who seemed to struggle in New York under Alain Vigneault, he seems to be doing better in Tampa Bay.

The grass isn't always greener, Marty. My fantasy team, featuring you, is proof of that. And I'm quite certain that thousands of Rangers fans want more out of you as well. The problem, however, seems to be the system you're in because it wasn't conducive to scoring when Callahan was there and it's not conducive to your scoring thus far.

This is uncharted territory for St. Louis at this point in his career. He and his teammates need to score more if the Rangers want to hold off Washington for that final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. Tampa Bay has a six-point cushion on Detroit, and they seem to be trending up with Callahan finding his stride in Tampa Bay.

While the trade to New York City looked like a fit on the surface, maybe this wasn't the best place to land for Martin St. Louis.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Luke said...

Carl Hagelin has wheels, man.

Teebz said...

He does, Luke. But he doesn't have the same nose for the net that Stamkos, Johnson, or Killorn has.

Kenny Burrell said...

At first I was, like, "OMG, you can trade cities to other teams?" and wondered why the Magic haven't traded Orlando.

Teebz said...

@Kenny - LOL. I don't know much about basketball, but I do know Orlando is pretty bad. Not Philly-bad, but close. ;o)