martin st. louis4

We’re coming up on a full month since the trade deadline that saw the New York Rangers make a big splash and acquire defending Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan. The team has done well for themselves since the move, going 9-4-1 in 14 games, climbing up the standings to second in the Metropolitan division, only…it hasn’t exactly been thanks to their new offensive weapon.

In fact, St. Louis hasn’t really provided the Rangers with much of anything.

He’s still yet to score a single goal for the Blueshirts (stuck on 29), and has only picked up three assists. He put together an eight game stretch where he tallied a mere six shots, never putting up more than one in a single game. For a guy playing 19 minutes a night (including three on the powerplay) with your best players, you’d expect a little more. 

His lack of success may get written off as a run of bad luck by the stats community (his underlying numbers aren’t so hot either, for what it’s worth), but I’d have a hard time believing this is a luck thing. It’s not easy going to a new team and trying to find chemistry, trying to figure out the system, and trying to find your niche within that.

You wind up thinking instead of playing, and that pulls you out of the game. Instead of just reacting, you’re asking yourself questions – should I be higher, should I be rotating – which causes you to miss cues and leaves you a step behind. You’re chasing the game instead of dictating the play.

St. Louis mentioned something to that effect:

“The biggest thing is you’ve got to be honest with yourself, sometimes you’re a little too hard on yourself, sometimes, maybe you’re not hard enough on yourself. You’ve got to find that line that keeps you in a good place mentally, and try not to overthink it too much. You know you’re one shot away from going the other way.”

It’s not like the guy is never going to score again, it’s just a matter of him getting comfortable.

The coaching staff, from what I’ve seen, has done everything in their power to try to help him succeed. At this point, it’s simply up to him. If the Rangers hope to go deep in playoffs, they’re going to need more from a guy they expected to be their offensive leader.