Courtesy of the popular X (Twitter) account @BigHeadHcky, fans in New York and Tampa Bay can wonder what might have happened if a huge trade proposal in 2010 had actually gone through. According to the account, the Rangers and Lightning were working on a deal that would have sent Steven Stamkos to the Rangers in exchange for a number of players, but a Tampa Bay Co-Owner vetoed it.
The specifics of the trade were that Stamkos would go to the Rangers in exchange for Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi, and Evgeny Grachev.
This deal, had it gone through, would have been a pivotal moment for both franchises. Big Head Hockey broke down what might have happened after and the dominos that would have fallen as a result. Stamkos was in the midst of an unreal sophomore season, so it’s not surprising the Rangers were willing to give up a huge haul to get him. In the end, it looks like the Lighting dodged a bullet and quantity did not equate to more than quality.
For the Rangers, they would have acquired their first 60-goal scorer in franchise history. It’s not clear how far he could have taken the Rangers, but the account believes the team might have had a chance to win the Stanley Cup during the 2014 Finals. They note that the Rangers could have made back-to-back finals runs, potentially changing Henrik Lundqvist’s legacy as one of the greatest goalies of all time with at least one Stanley Cup.
Not only that, but Stamkos as a Ranger might have changed the fate of a few players on that team. Derek Stepan could have reached all-time Ranger status if he had played alongside Stamkos throughout his career, they note. The account also suggests that Rick Nash’s tenure as a Ranger might never have occurred, and Pavel Buchnevich may not have joined the team.
For the Tampa Bay Lightning, they might not have enjoyed the same success without Stamkos in the mid to late 2010s. Their 2021 Stanley Cup victory for the Lightning may not have happened.
Sometimes The Best Trades Are The Ones That Don’t Happen
As Stamkos completes what will be the final year of his current contract this season, there will be a reflection on how big his influence was on the team while the organization decides what an extension might look like. With over 1000 career NHL games on his resume and 1056 points in the regular season (accompanied by 95 playoff points in 123 games) Stamkos influenced the Lightning franchise arguably more than any other player in that team’s history.
Ultimately, fate intervened, and the trade was vetoed at the last second. The NHL’s landscape could have been drastically different, with new champions, legendary careers, and altered team dynamics. Undoubtedly, the Lightning wouldn’t have been the dynasty they became.
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