Have you heard this? The New York Rangers and captain Ryan Callahan are in the middle of a contractual debate that could come to a close with a trade. Callahan becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, which raises the question: should the Rangers trade their captain now for a significant return or should they keep him around for a playoff run? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Reports out of New York last week had Rangers GM Glen Sather shopping Callahan. In fact, Sather is so far along in the trade process that he has allegedly given other NHL teams permission to talk about a possible extension with the Blueshirts’ captain.
Rumours really picked up steam last week when it was discovered that at least one NHL club was talking with Callahan’s agent about a possible contract extension should the Rangers decide to trade him. That being said, it is believed signing Callahan is still the number one priority for Sather, who is likely making calls to establish a backup plan should Callahan’s price be too high. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the following last Friday:
“Two Western Conference executives I traded texts with on Thursday afternoon believed Sather’s priority was still to re-sign Callahan and that he was simply calling around ‘to give himself options for Plan B,’ one executive said. Perhaps, not to mention put pressure on Callahan to step down from his contract stance, believe to be in the seven-year range and around $6 million a year. A source also told ESPNNewYork.com’s Katie Strang that Sather would not be opposed to trading Callahan within the Eastern Conference, either.”
Trading Callahan would represent a trip down the road less traveled. Typically, when the big name player on any NHL team is up from unrestricted free agency, that player is signed before he hits the open market. For example, the Leafs re-signed pending UFAs Phil Kessel and captain Dion Phaneuf earlier this season, preventing either from reaching July 1st without a contract. Last season the Anaheim Ducks locked up Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf prior to season’s end, under the same circumstances.
ESPN New York’s Katie Strang is covering the story very closely. She wrote about Callahan’s contract situation today – it was an informative piece that you can read here.
For up-to-date coverage of the Ryan Callahan situation, follow Katie Strang on Twitter @KatieStrangESPN