In a surprising move just hours before the trade deadline, the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off a major deal Wednesday, swapping captains Ryan Callahan and Martin St. Louis in a blockbuster.
The Rangers had been trying to sign Callahan, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but weren’t able to reach an agreement with the gritty forward. Instead of risking losing him for nothing on the open market, New York dealt him, a second-round pick in this year’s draft, and a first-rounder next year to Tampa Bay for St. Louis, a disgruntled two-time NHL scoring champion.
In 62 games this season, St. Louis has 29 goals and 32 assists with a plus-12 rating. He is fifth in the league in goals and eighth in points.
Callahan, who will turn 29 later this month, has 11 goals and 14 assists in 45 games this season.
Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, has been cleared to play for the Lightning after being sidelined since November by a broken right shin.
Canadiens gets Vanek
Montreal acquired winger Thomas Vanek from the Islanders for forward prospect Sebastien Collberg, a 2014 second-round pick, and a conditional fifth-rounder.
Vanek, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, becomes the Canadiens’ leading scorer with 53 points. The 30-year-old is in the final year of a $50 million, seven-year deal.
The Canadiens also picked up goalie Devan Dubnyk from the Predators for future considerations.
The Islanders had acquired Vanek earlier this season from the Sabres for left wing Matt Moulson. On Wednesday, Buffalo dealt Moulson and center Cody McCormick to Minnesota for two second-round picks (2014 and 2016) and forward Torrey Mitchell.
Panthers dump Thomas
This time, Roberto Luongo got what Tim Thomas wanted.
Luongo was formally welcomed back by the Panthers, the reunion ceremony coming shortly after the team made its second significant swap of goaltenders in as many days by sending Thomas — who grudgingly waived a no-trade clause — to the Stars.
With that, goalies who squared off when Thomas’s Bruins beat Luongo’s Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals were headed different ways.
Kings acquire Gaborik
The Kings acquired veteran goal scorer Marian Gaborik from the Blue Jackets.
Columbus gets right wing Matt Frattin and a second-round pick in the 2014 draft, plus a conditional third-rounder if the Kings win their first-round playoff series or re-sign Gaborik.
Gaborik, 32, has been limited to just 22 games with a sprained knee and a broken collarbone this season, but is healthy for the stretch run.
Brodeur stays put
Despite speculation that the Devils were considering dealing the NHL’s winningest goaltender, 41-year-old Martin Brodeur will finish his 20th consecutive season in New Jersey.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello refused to say whether Brodeur had waived his no-trade clause.
The Devils’ only move was acquiring left wing Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina for center Andrei Loktionov .
Legwand goes home
The Predators traded away their first draft pick, sending forward David Legwand to his hometown Detroit Red Wings. Nashville got Patrick Eaves, a prospect, and a third-round draft pick in exchange for Legwand . . . The Capitals swapped goalies with the Sabres, sending backup Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla to Buffalo for Jaroslav Halak . . . The Senators and veteran defenseman Chris Phillips agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million, according to ESPN. Phillips had been the talk of several trade possibilities, including a deal with the Bruins . . . The Penguins acquired forward Marcel Goc from the Panthers and forward Lee Stempniak from the Flames in exchange for draft picks. The Penguins assigned forward Chuck Kobasew to Wilkes Barre-Scranton of the AHL . . . The Blue Jackets traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Oilers for veteran defenseman Nick Schultz.