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Martin St. Louis Deserves Fans’ Forgiveness as Tampa Bay Lightning Set to Retire His Number

Former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired, the team announced on Thursday.

St. Louis' number 26 will be raised to the rafters at Amalie Arena during a ceremony before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets — a team coached by former Lightning bench boss John Tortorella — on Jan. 13, 2017.

As Lightning owner Jeff Vinik made the announcement over a conference call with the six-time All-Star, fan reaction began to pour out across the internet and social media. While many fans were excited to see the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner receive the honor, others were still upset with St. Louis for how his career with the Lightning came to an abrupt close when he was traded to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan on Mar. 5, 2014.

The circumstances surrounding the St. Louis trade, at least from some Lightning fans' points of view, was largely selfish. After being passed over by Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff for the 2014 Winter Olympics, St. Louis was vocal about what he viewed as a snub from the roster and demanded a trade. The demand came as the Lightning were battling through the extended absence of an injured Steven Stamkos and fighting for a playoff berth.

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  Tags: martin+st.+louis

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