Updated: Thursday, 06 March 2014 15:52 | By Agence France-Presse

St. Louis sent to Rangers, Gaborik goes to LA

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers just hours before the National Hockey League trade deadline, while welcoming back injured star Steven Stamkos.

St. Louis sent to Rangers, Gaborik goes to LA

Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action at the Scottrade Center on March 4, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri - by Dilip Vishwanat

Columbus Blue Jackets Slovakian winger Marian Gaborik went to the Los Angeles Kings, and the New York Islanders traded Austrian left wing Thomas Vanek to Montreal.

The Rangers swapped captains with the Lightning, sending Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round NHL Draft choice and a conditional second-round pick in the 2014 draft in exchange for St. Louis, who has 369 goals in 1,041 career NHL games.

"I was able to make a trade that honoured Marty's wishes to move on," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "I'm pleased that we were able to make a deal with the New York  Rangers that we feel was acceptable."

St. Louis, the 38-year-old reigning NHL scoring champion, reportedly asked to be traded after Yzerman, who selected the Canadian Olympic squad, left him off the original lineup.

Yzerman had also snubbed St. Louis for a spot on Canada's 2010 Vancouver Olympic gold medal team. Although St. Louis joined the 2014 squad as an injury substitute for Stamkos, who is just now back from a broken right leg, he was mainly a reserve in the gold medal lineup.

St. Louis, who helped Tampa Bay win the 2004 Stanley Cup in a season when he was named the NHL's Most Valuable Player, has 29 goals and 32 assists to lead point production for the Lightning this season.

- Callahan to become free agent -

While St. Louis will reunite with former Tampa Bay teammate Brad Richards on the Rangers and has one year remaining on his contract, Callahan remains set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

Callahan, 28, played for the United States at the Sochi Olympics last month. He has spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the Rangers, scoring 132 goals and setting up 122 others over 450 games. He has 11 goals this season.

The Lightning, with 34 wins and 73 points from 62 games, rank fourth in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers, with 33 wins and 69 points from 62 games, share seventh in the East, although four rivals are within two points in pursuit of the eight available playoff spots.

Tampa Bay also announced the return of Stamkos, who was injured in a 3-0 loss at Boston on November 11. Stamkos, 24, led the NHL with 14 goals at the time he was injured.

Gaborik, 32, has 342 goals in 791 games with Minnesota, the Rangers and Columbus, which sent him and cash to the Kings for forward Matt Frattin and two draft picks.

Despite nagging injuries this season, Gaborik has six goals in 22 games for the Blue Jackets.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge," Gaborik said. "It has been a hectic day, but this is a fresh start."

The Kings rank sixth in the Western Conference with 35 wins and 76 points from 63 games, but their goal production is fourth-worst in the 30-team league.

In other moves, Washington landed goaltender Jaroslav Halak from Buffalo, which obtained him from St. Louis a day earlier for Ryan Miller. 

Columbus obtained defenseman Nick Schultz from Edmonton and Pittsburgh added German center Marcel Goc from Florida.

Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur were two big name players widely expected to move elsewhere but ended up staying put at the trade deadline.

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