UPDATE: Friday, January 31, 2014
On Friday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers want the situation resolved before player leave for the Sochi Olympics, and things have only gotten more serious as the day has went on.
It was made known that general manager Glen Sather was gauging trade interest from other league executives, but now teams are actually in contact with Callahan's representation.
Darren Dreger dropped this nugget of knowledge on Twitter late on Friday stating that the Rangers had given at least one team permission to negotiate with Callahan's agent.
Developing story, NYR grant permission to at least 1 team who has already talked with Callahan's agent. More on Sportscentre. #TSN— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014
Shortly after that, John Shannon of Sportsnet followed up with this tweet, and it now appears that there is some serious traction to the fact that Callahan could be traded soon.
Rangers have given permission to multiple teams to talk to Ryan Callahan's agent, Steve Bartlett.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) February 1, 2014
Things are really starting to heat up, and it appears that it is only a matter of time before the Rangers deal their captain.
***End of Update***
The writing appears to be on the wall for New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, and the various trade rumors make sense because of what it could cost to retain him. After reading what Callahan's asking price was, the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase, came to mind.
DiBiase's theme music is memorable, and here are the first few bars. "Everybody's got a price, everybody's gonna pay, cause the million dollar man always gets his way." Clearly Callahan has his price, but general manger Glen Sather has one of his own. While Callahan has been a fan favorite and has been treated well, this could be a rare circumstance in which he doesn't get his way.
If the rumors are true, it won't be the Rangers front office paying, but it will be fans paying for a new jersey whenever a new captain is selected. At the end of the day, hockey sometimes isn't personal, but it's strictly business, and in this situation it makes no fiscal sense to retain Callahan at his asking price.
The reported contract that Callahan is seeking is ridiculous, and the Rangers shouldn't waste time looking for a trade partner. While Callahan is a UFA to be, there are definitely going to be a number of teams that would kill to have him in a secondary role for a playoff push.
He kills penalties, he is a great two-way defensive player and he is a great leader and player to have in the dressing room. These are all positives and things the Rangers would love to keep on the roster, but retaining him comes down to economics, and risk management.
TSN Insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger divulged that Callahan was seeking a mega deal. On Insider Trading, McKenzie said that Callahan is looking for a seven-year deal that is worth more than $6 million per season. He added that if the Rangers are unwilling to give him that, another team would during free agency.
Take a minute to digest that. Ryan Callahan, a player who is playing less and less each year, wants a significant raise even though he is no longer in the prime of his career. While he may be asking for market value, he would be asking for less if he really wanted to remain the captain of the Rangers.
He has a career high of 54 points, and data suggests that players will not produce better during their 30s than they did during their 20s, per Arctic Ice Hockey.
I opined about this a month ago, and what I wrote then means even more now because there is an actual number on the table.
Callahan is in the NHL because he is an effective grinder and defensive player. He is a skilled shot blocker and forechecker, not an elite goal scorer. This style of play will lead to Callahan suffering more injuries, and therefore it will render him useless to the Rangers.
No team in good conscience can give a player with Callahan's injury history a long-term deal worth upward of $6 million, because it would be repeating history. The Rangers already went through this with Chris Drury, and they can't afford to make that mistake again.
From the same article, here is Callahan's bill of health over the past few seasons.
|Sprained MCL||2013-14||9 Games|
|Broken Thumb||2013-14||7 Games|
|Shoulder Surgery||2013-14||1 Game|
|Shoulder Injury||2012-13||3 Games|
|Bruised Foot||2011-12||6 Games|
|Broken Leg||2010-11||2 Regular Season Games, Entire NHL Playoffs|
|Broken Hand||2010-11||19 Games|
|Leg Injury||2009-10||4 Games|
|Neck Injury||2009-10||1 Game|
The Hockey News
Right now, Callahan has become a third-line player under Alain Vigneault. He currently averages 17:54 a game, the lowest average T.O.I. of his career since the 2008-09 season. He is no longer the first or second liner he was for John Tortorella, and he is no longer a fixture on the power play. This, in turn, will impact the amount of points Callahan is able to produce.
If you break down the numbers, Callahan has scored once in his last eight games, two in his last 17 and three in his last 26. These are terrible numbers, and they show that he is regressing as an offensive player.
What will happen with Callahan?
Sather probably is taking extra caution after seeing how Dustin Brown and David Clarkson have failed to perform after signing massive contracts, and no one should blame the Rangers' veteran executive for that.
Every writer commenting on this situation understands the gravity of the situation. Callahan is a homegrown fan favorite that embodies the blue-collar work ethic of the Broadway Blueshirts. Diehard fans can relate to Callahan's humble beginnings in Rochester, N.Y., his work ethic and his overall character.
Trading Callahan would be a culture shock to the fanbase and the team, but there is no way that Sather is giving him the contract he wants.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post has confirmed this.
Negotiations regarding an extension are at a standstill, if not an impasse, with Callahan believed seeking a deal in the neighborhood of seven years at $42 million that is not in the same ballpark as general manager Glen Sather is willing to pay; not even a ballpark as expansive as Yankee Stadium, where the Rangers and Islanders will meet on Wednesday.
Right now it is all too clear that the gap between what Callahan wants and what the Rangers will pay is too big to overcome. So now the question becomes, not when will the Rangers trade Callahan, but whom will they trade him to?
Teams like the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins would probably love to add him for a playoff run, but it is fair to say that multiple teams will show interest in the Rangers captain.
Any return the Rangers receive is more than losing him for nothing on July 5, 2014, so Rangers fans should start preparing themselves, because it really looks like this will be Callahan's final run on Broadway.