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March 7, 2014 | 9:58am ET
Owner tried to make St. Louis stay

If Lightning owner Jeff Vinik had his way, star forward Martin St. Louis would still be in a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform instead of playing for the New York Rangers.

Vinik, according to the Tampa Tribune, tried to convince St. Louis to stay, telling him how much he meant to the organization and community.

Ultimately, Vinik was unsuccessful in his attempts.

"A little sadness and disappointment at the time," Vinik, who had two face-to-face discussions with St. Louis prior to the move, told the Tribune.

"We would've loved to have seen Marty finish his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning sweater on. I was very direct in telling him that my dream is that you finish your career here and you lead us to another Stanley Cup.

"But I understand Marty's reasons. It played out the way it did and we wish him well. He's been a great player for this organization, is arguably the best player we've had in our history, and I hope things go great for him and his family in New York."

On Wednesday, the day of the NHL trade deadline, the Bolts dealt St. Louis to the Rangers in exchange for right wing Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2014 second-round pick that turns into a first-rounder if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals this season.

"We honored his request in terms of working out a deal to the one (team) that we were allowed to talk to, the Rangers," Vinik said. "I'm a pretty level-headed guy, and so is (Lightning GM) Steve Yzerman, so we play the cards as they come out of the deck."

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