Brian Lawton came down with a case of déjà vu this week.
The former Tampa Bay Lightning general manager told Hockey Central @ Noon Friday that Martin St. Louis requested a trade to the New York Rangers when he worked with the club back in 2009.
“I can tell you when I was in Tampa there was time in 2009 right before the trade deadline when (St. Louis) was waiting in my office for me,” Lawton said. “He told me he was not happy with the way things were going and would like to be traded to one team – the New York Rangers.”
It may not have been the only instance, as St. Louis reportedly requested a trade to the Rangers in January when he was initially left off the 2014 Canadian Olympic roster by current Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman.
On Wednesday, St. Louis addressed the trade rumours with reporters.
“I’ve had conversations with Steve about my future with the team and I’ll leave it at that,” he said.
Lawton said he had his suspicions back in 2009 that there was some tampering going on between St. Louis and the Rangers. The veteran forward has a house in the Connecticut area and lives there in the off-season with his wife.
“I had my suspicions at the time that some of the people that were from Tampa Bay prior and then working for the Rangers were contacting (St. Louis) about the possibility of coming to play there,” said Lawton. “Our team was not doing well at that time. I immediately felt that was the issue. I made a couple of phone calls and had a couple of meetings with Marty about how important he is to the organization and eventually everything worked out rather quickly.”
Despite the trade request, Lawton praised St. Louis for playing well and acting like a professional when a deal did not surface. Lawton said St. Louis was able to put the request behind him and was a great player for Tampa Bay during his tenure.
“My lasting impression of Marty St. Louis is watching him in game 82 of the regular season when you know your club is eliminated from the playoffs and busting his rear end to get off on a line change,” he said. “This guy doesn’t know how to do anything but give it all for whoever he is playing for.”
The Lightning finished the 2008-09 season with 24-40-18 record and fifth place in the Southeast Division.