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2010 NHL Free Agency: Tampa Bay signs Martin St. Louis to 4-year, $22.5M extension

Jul 1, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

MSL.jpgMartin St. Louis looks like he’ll be a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning for five more years.

New GM Steve Yzerman is making some nice moves today, ridding the team of an excessive contract in Andrej Meszaros and now inking the pint-sized St. Louis to a four-year contract extension. The four-year deal is worth $22.5 million according to James Duthie, which makes it a $5.5 million annual cap hit.

While the “face” of the franchise has been Vincent Lecavalier, St. Louis has been the heart, soul and … guts. He produces year after year, including winning a Hart Trophy in their anomalous Stanley Cup winning season. He also found great chemistry with Steven Stamkos this season, producing a 94-point season while often skating alongside the young co-winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy.

There are pluses and minuses to this extension.

On the good side, St. Louis clearly still has his fastball right now. If he could even maintain his pre-Stamkos pace of about 80 points per season, $5.5 million is a steal. (Not to mention the fact that he appears to be a great character guy.)

The downside of the deal is that he’s already 35 years old. If St. Louis fades toward the end of the term, the contract could come back to haunt the Lightning.

Overall, though, I think it’s a good move that signals the Lightning will take care of its best players. Chances are Stamkos will be more likely to sign a contract extension with the team now that he knows his favorite co-pilot will be around for a while.

  1. Josh - Jul 1, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    This is a pretty high price to pay for even Marty SL, who is a great little winger. 5.5M is a lot, especially for a team that cannot count on being competitive every year, nor on huge fan support – though the Bolts have some good fans…but if they don’t actually make the playoffs this year or next, they’ll be right back in “disaster/meltdown” AKA Barry Melrose territory and then they’ll be in real trouble. Regardless: this is a good move for TB, in the sense that St. Louis is an irreplaceable talent and fits that team like no other player can. I was sort of hoping the Carolina Hurricanes would make a run at him, but they’re too cheap for that kind of money! And, finally, I disagree that this contract could bite the Bolts in the end; look at what just happened with Brind’Amour in Carolina. Everyone said the same about his contract after the Cup: he’s 35-years-old, he’ll never finish the deal, he’s likely to decline, this’ll stay on the books, etc. If not for some pretty major leg injuries over the last 4 years, maybe Rod would have made a more gradual decline rather than his steep dropoff, but in any case the team did what was right and just moved him down the depth chart, made sure he mentored young players at the very least, and then offered a buyout and a front office job. That’s where Tampa will be with Marty in 3 or 4 years (though like a Ray Whitney, I expect he will still be quite good even at 38, 39, 40 years of age), and he’ll become a fixture in the organization after retirement. Not bad at all, really.

  2. bob arquillo - Jul 3, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    im very glad to see the lightning organization is taking care of their star players. marty is the driving force of the bolts and i love it when he plays with the younger steven stamkos.he’s very gifted for his size and his hand speed is unreal.way to go marty,congratulations on your new contract.my girlfriend and i are your 2 biggest fans in pittsburgh and we love it when you are very sucessful.may the new season bring you a lot of sucess and maybe a stanley cup.again,congratulations

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