(Photo: Lightning)

The Tampa Bay Lightning started their trade deadline day with some big news, Steven Stamkos was going to return on Thursday!

Of course, as most of us know now, that wasn’t going to be the only big news of the day. At 11:23 AM, TSN reported the much speculated trade of a captain switch, Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan. Along with Captain Cally, the Lightning got a conditional second round pick in the 2014 draft, and a first round selection in the 2015 draft. The Lightning’s conditional second round pick becomes a first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final this season. The 2015 will see the the Rangers getting the Lightning’s second round pick (for New York’s seventh round pick) if Callahan re-signs with the Lightning at the end of the season. At the age of 28, Captain Cally has skated in 45 games with the Rangers this season. He has netted 11 goals and 25 points, with only 16 penalty minutes. Of the goals, four were on the power play.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward registered a season-best, five-game point streak from October 11 through November 7, recording five goals and two assists during that stretch.

“The Lightning are very excited to have Ryan Callahan join the organization and help us in our quest to make the playoffs,” Yzerman said.  “Ryan is an outstanding player and leader who we look forward to seeing on the ice tomorrow night. We’d like to thank Marty for everything he has done on and off the ice during his outstanding 13-year career in Tampa Bay.  He has been one of the greatest players in the organization’s history but in the end we honored his request today.  We wish him and his family the best of luck as he continues his career in New York.”

Callahan, a native of Rochester, New York, represented Team USA in Sochi. He appeared in six games and had one assist. In 2010, he earned a silver medal with Team USA in Vancouver.  Callahan has played in 450 career NHL games, all with the Rangers, over eight seasons, collecting 132 goals and 254 points. He set career-highs during the 2011-12 season for goals (29), points (54), penalty minutes (61), power-play goals (13) and game-winning goals (nine). He was originally drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round, 127th overall, at the 2004 NHL Draft. DSC_0384

The other big news for the Lightning today, was the return of centre Steven Stamkos. He has been cleared for return to action, Steve Yzerman announced on Wednesday morning. He will return to action on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

“Steven saw Lightning medical director Dr. Ira Guttentag this morning and based on the latest X-ray, a clinical exam and his functionality on and off the ice we are pleased to announce he is cleared to play.” Yzerman said. “We look forward to seeing him on the ice with his teammates tomorrow night.”

Stamkos has been out of action since November 11, when he fractured his right tibia in a game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. It required him to have surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital where a titanium rod was placed in the tibia. The star player has missed 45 regular season games, and the Olympics, since his injury.

“Today is obviously an exciting day for me,” said Stamkos after learning the news. “Adversity is a good test and you’re going to have to go through it in your career, so you hope it makes you a better player and a better person. I have a new perspective on my career as a professional athlete and how hard you have to work to maintain that. I’d like to thank the training staff for their dedication and hard work, ensuring that I got back into the lineup as quickly as possible.”

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