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The time Stamkos was almost traded to the Rangers in 2008/ 2009

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SUNRISE, Fla. — It may sound like a fish story, but if so, then Glen Sather sure has come up with a whopper.

The Rangers’ GM told Slap Shots on Thursday that he “shook hands” on a trade last year that would have brought Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay to New York less than halfway through the brilliant 20-year-old center’s rookie season.

We reported last year that the Lightning had dangled Stamkos through the early months of the season, during which the first-overall selection in the 2008 Entry Draft struggled badly, getting two goals (with five assists) in his first 21 games. There were questions in the organization about his readiness for the NHL.

The Rangers started working on the Tampa house-of-cards ownership during the teams’ trip to Prague, where the clubs opened the 2008-09 regular season with a pair of games. Sather got the ear of co-owner Len Barrie, a former NHL player. Conversations continued after the clubs returned to North America.

By the time the Blueshirts visited Tampa on Thanksgiving of 2008, the talks had become serious. Barrie was asking to choose two or three from a wish list that featured Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi.

The deal, according to Sather, was struck. The Rangers would be getting Stamkos, who has scored 46 goals thus far this season, tied for second in the NHL with Alex Ovechkin and just one behind Sidney Crosby in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Oh, no, they wouldn’t.

“How close did we come?” Sather asked rhetorically, repeating the question we posed to him as the Rangers practiced in Tampa on Thursday. “We shook hands on it, that’s how close.

“I’d been on it since Europe. I had an agreement with Len Barrie. I asked him if he had the authority to make the trade, and he assured me that he did, because he was an owner.

“But the next day, I found out that he didn’t. He went to run the deal by [GM] Brian Lawton, who wanted no part of it. As I understood it, the way it was told to me, Barrie was still going to make the deal, but then he was told that he couldn’t unless he got the approval of [co-owner] Oren Koules.

“Koules shot it down,” said Sather. “That was the end of it.”

Koules and Barrie further could not agree on a trade last June that would have sent Vincent Lecavalier and his massive contract to Montreal in exchange for a package featuring goaltender Carey Price. Dysfunction in that case benefited Sather, for it allowed him to then move Scott Gomez to the Canadiens.

That Lightning ownership is gone. So is the opportunity to trade for Stamkos.

“We had him,” Sather said. “Well, I thought we did.”

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12 minutes ago, ItsMillerTime said:

Someone made the exact thread a couple of months ago.

Still pretty interesting... I missed that one.  


1 hour ago, Down by the River said:

It seems like Sather tried to make a deal without involving Lawton. If I was a GM, I'd think it pretty shady of Sather to go behind my back and try to make a deal with my owner. 

Agreed... I wonder how often that happens and how much it affects a GM's reputation?  

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1 hour ago, gmen81 said:

Back in 2003 Corey Perry and a pick were almost traded to Edmonton for Mike Comrie, but it never went through because of money reasons I believe. 

 That last season he just ripped up the league, i bet so many  teams regretted him being picked so late. Good old London Knights.

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