Ryan Callahan: Trade talk or crazy talk?

Ryan Callahan, NHL Trade talk, New York Rangers.

Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

He’s the heart and soul of the Blueshirts and they say he’s on the trade block. New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan is set to become an unrestricted free agent after season’s end and rumours are running rampant; they suggest he’ll be moved by the NHL trade deadline which occurs at 3:00 PM ET on March 5th.

It’s rare that a captain gets traded. Most of them retire, get stripped of their station when better players arrive, or walk as free agents. That being said, the Edmonton Oilers traded former captain Shawn Horcoff this past off-season, and Rangers GM Glen Sather is of Oiler descent.

Teams should be interested in Ryan Callahan’s services as a rental player should he in fact be on the trade block. The Rangers’ captain is a proven twenty-goal scorer with more intangibles than a poorly trained dog. Any team in the mix for a Stanley Cup title should at the very least be inquiring about Callahan. He’d very nicely slot somewhere into the top nine of a contender and improve that contender’s Cup chances.

In fact, you may even say Ryan Callahan is a pretty good hockey player. And it is for that reason – because he’s good – that one may question whether he’s even available for trade, at all. So let’s examine the evidence:

Twitter’s most notable insider claims that New York Rangers GM Glen Sather will trade Ryan Callahan before this season’s quickly approaching trade deadline. It doesn’t get more insider than TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said the following according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.

If Dreger’s prediction is true, there is a 1% chance Ryan Callahan won’t be traded before the deadline, because after the deadline his trade value will be as low as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ shots on goal totals. But the Rangers are going to make the playoffs this season, and playoff teams typically retain their pending UFAs for the stretch drive because established star trade return – especially this season with the low cap ceiling – is typically futures. And the Rangers playoff push and post-season performance will not be helped by a package of one prospect, one draft pick and one player who is not as good as Callahan; which is the sort of deal, at best, that you’d expect Sather to pull off based on recent NHL trade history.

But, recent Glen Sather history should lead us to believe that he doesn’t exactly adhere to standards set by the market. For example, after a strong 2011-12 season that saw the Rangers finish first in the East and advance all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, Slats decided to revamp his club the following off-season. His decision to part ways with Brandon Prust, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky, among others,  ultimately proved costly. But hey, at least he acquired aging Cy Young winner Rick Nash.

At last season’s trade deadline Sather moved sniper Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a package of depth players. It was an obvious attempt to replenish the stock. And it also proved that much like Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, Glen Sather makes trades. Therefore, are the Ryan Callahan trade rumours crazy talk? No, they probably aren’t.