So the title of this post may get a lot of puzzling looks. How can Ryan Callahan be exceeding expectations? Well, simply put, I don’t think anyone expected him to be this effective this year. We all knew he would continue to block shots, play on the penalty kill, and play a physical game, but it’s the offensive aspects of his game that have really taken off.
Let’s be honest, not many thought Cally could reproduce what he did last year. Prorated to 82 games –he played just 60– his numbers project out to 30-34-64, which is much more than most expect of the fourth round pick. But yet here he is 25 games in with 11 goals and 19 points; well on his way to reaching the 30 goal and 60 point marks, barring injury.
The numbers are good, but it’s his play offensively without the puck that impresses the most. On the powerplay and at even strength, you can find Cally along the boards –expected– or in front of the net providing effective screens for shooters. It’s something that we may have expected of Cally, but defintiely not to be this effecient at it. Cally is causing havoc in front of the net, which is leaving opportunities for Brad Ricahrds to bury some goals.
The Captain is doing it all, and fans in New York have fallen in love with him –for good reason. I recall a conversation I had with a friend that Cally was going to peak at 20-25 goals and roughly 50 points, and that Brandon Dubinsky would be the offensive force for this team. Two years later, Cally is the consistent offensive force, and Dubinsky is on the fourth line as one of the streakiest players on the team. It may be early in the season, but Cally is definitely exceeding expectations of those around him. Let’s see what he can do for a full season, and hope he doesn’t get injured.