Ryan Callahan and his future in blue

January 27, 2014, by
Courtesy of NYR Zone

Courtesy of NYR Zone

When the clock strikes 3pm on Wednesday, March 5th signaling the time which any player acquired by a team can be eligible to participate in the postseason (also known as the trade deadline), it is all but certain Ryan Callahan will still be Captain of the New York Rangers Hockey Club. However, what happens between March 5th and July 1st is still anyone’s guess.

Today, we’re going to take a look at a few different scenarios around what the Rangers might look like with and without our Captain heading into next year, and what the cost implications might be. Realistically, barring a trade (which is unlikely to begin with), there are only two scenarios for the Rangers: They re-sign Cally, or they do not re-sign Cally.

Rangers re-sign Ryan Callahan

What can I say about Ryan Callahan that hasn’t already been said a million times on Al Gore’s interweb?

Twenty+ goal scorers who can play in all three zones and be trusted in every game situation are not easy to find. Very few guys in this league bring a 100% effort every night and can be good on both sides of the puck. Callahan is one of those guys and he’s an important ingredient to any club with Stanley Cup aspirations.

The question becomes not about his importance, but his value in a cap world, and it’s always hard to put a dollar sign on intangible qualities. Everyone weights that stuff differently. Still, at 28 years old, Cally has a lot of hockey left in him. If Shane Doan, a somewhat older version of Cally, can garner a deal which pays him $5.5 million until he’s 39, you can bet the line for our captain’s services go around the block and down Broadway.

When it comes to cap hit comparables, you can’t really look too far back at contracts that have been handed out. Few were signed knowing team salary caps would increase to $70-$71 million in 2014. In my opinion, comparables would probably be Nathan Horton (7 years, $5.3 million per signed in 2013), Dustin Brown (8 years, $5.875 million per signed in 2013), and Travis Zajac (8 years, $5.750 million per signed in 2013).

All of these guys have comparable roles on their respective teams, similar production, and are 28 or 29 years old.  Those who think Ryan will get a deeper discount because of this season’s injuries simply have to look at the injury histories of Horton and Zajac. Cally has played in 87% of regular season games the past three seasons, which is a high % than the latter two.

Rangers don’t re-sign Ryan Callahan

Based on what I mentioned in the past section, the Rangers Front Office would be foolish to let Callahan walk this summer, as his skill set is not easily replaced. With that said, the unknown here is what Callahan actually wants for himself. Unfortunately, we won’t know his intentions until a new contract gets signed or not. Although it’s improbable Callahan wants out, it’s not impossible.

Perhaps he wants to play for Buffalo, since he grew up a Sabres fan in nearby Rochester. Perhaps he wants to reunite with Torts, or join an organization that will promise him a role greater than what Alain Vigneault is willing to give (side note, AV has reduced Cally’s role both at even strength and on the power play). Look, there are endless possibilities and you can drive yourself crazy thinking about them.

Gun to my head, I think Cally will re-sign, but it won’t be an easy process. Between now and the deadline there will be plenty of trade rumors from the usual suspects. Just learn to tune them out. If I have learned anything working in sports it is that 90% of what you read from the media is completely made up. The other 10% that does get out to the press is done so purposely. Seldom do things leak by accident.

Some of what does get out is market gauging from front offices and some of it is an agent sending a message to GM’s playing hardball. However, at the end of the day, most meet in the middle and everyone gets their cookie. So hang tight Rangers fans. Things will work itself out.

Categories : Analysis, Players


  1. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Suit, in general, I tend to prefer shorter term deals with a slight increase in cap hit as opposed to long term commitments to players. For instance, I’d be more comfortable paying Cally 6.25 mil for 4 years than 5 mil for 6 years (Note: over simplified example).

    The problem there, is that the GM will run out of money if he follows that logic for every deal he does. How do you like to tackle the dollars vs term debate?

    • agentsmith says:

      Imo cally is waaay overrated. Wouldnt mind seeing him sign elsewhere.

    • The Suit says:

      Hatrick – That my friend is what separates a good GM from a great GM is figuring out who deserves term and who deserves dollars upfront. Because, to your point, you can’t give everyone a short-term contract. It comes down to cap management.

      Cally will likely be seeking 8 years, so we can probably balance it out by offering 6 with a bit more money upfront.

  2. MBN says:

    Solid post.

    You basically laid it all out. A simple “will he” or “won’t he”.

  3. Todd says:

    My crystal ball says the Rangers sign Cally for $5.5 for 6years and let Giradi or Stall walk.

    • Dave says:

      Staal is still signed for next season.

    • Paco33 says:

      Substitute Stralman for Staal in your crystal ball and I think you’re right. Getting Klein was a very good trade because it addressed a number of concerns:
      * What to do about MDZ. We had no need for both MDZ and J Moore and I think we made the right choice.
      * Right D-man depth. With both Girardi and Stralman UFA’s we needed depth on that side. Klein is much more of a 2d pair D-man, than a 3d giving us some protection in negotiations with both, but especially Stralman.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Sather tries to do the same thing and address both short and longer term issues by trading for a Callahan-type forward (perhaps a center for Brassard?) before the deadline. We can certainly use him this season and we have some protection in negotiations with Callahan after the season.

      • Walt says:

        Why Brass, he is the cog that makes his line of Pouliot, and Zucc work. He is underrated somewhat, and Callie is slightly over rated. That’s not to say I don’t care for Callie, quite the opposit, I love his game, and heart!

        I’d offer Callie a fair contract, one that gives him a raise, but I wouldn’t break the bank. If he doesn’t want to stay, then trade him. By so doing, Slats won’t be the fall guy, and we get something back if he wants to walk!!!!!

        • Paco33 says:

          I like Brass and I always give extra consideration to guys who play well in the playoffs, like he did last year (another reason why I wanted DMZ gone – very bad playoffs the last 2 years). But Brass is a bit of a ‘tweaner for me – he’s not looking like a #2 center and he’s not the kind of center I prefer on my 3d line (more of a Callahan-type 2-way guy with more grit). We’re not going to trade Cally unless the wheels come off and we’re not a playoff team. I’d just like to see us make a move that upgrades us a bit this year and provides us with some protection so we don’t have to go too high to keep Cally – exactly what I think we accomplished with DMZ for KK.

      • Centerman21 says:

        Man just saw the call in the Islander vs Blues game in OT that went to Toronto and disallowed a Vanek game winning goal that everyone thought was a goal. Toronto got that one wrong and I could care less about the Islanders.
        The problem is that to let either Girardi or Strahlman walk puts the Rangers back short of a right handed defenseman or two. That’d suck considering all that time we went with 4 lefties on a nightly basis. We have 3 and 3 now and I’d like it to remain that way. Much easier to find a replacement for a lefty in this league. Most of them are.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      No one walks on my watch. Cally 5.5 at six. Giradi at fair market value wouldn’t overpay.If both don’t sign before trade deadline i would trade both.

  4. Spozo says:

    I just hope he doesn’t get to free agency. Look at what David Clarkson got. 7 years with a 5.25 cap hit. Cally plays a similar hard nosed role and is a lot better offensively. If he gets to free agency there will be several teams throwing more than 6 million per at him, and just like the Clarkson contract in Toronto, he will not live up to the expectations of his salary.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      I don’t think anyone could live up to that kind of salary. Though, if Cally were signed by the highest bidder and left. I guarentee he’d please the fans in that new city. Unlike Clarkson in Toronto. They hate him in his own home town. Too funny.

      • Seahorse says:

        they should hate the gm who said, it doesn’t matter what i get from him 3 years from now which is just ridiculous for a guy that put 20 goals up once

        • Centerman21 says:

          If you’re talking about Sather then you should find a new team to root for because he is growing roots in NY by now. He may even pop up in your backyard in the spring. The team is in a win now mode. That was the point of that statement and Sather was tired of hearing about 3 years this and that. He put this team together and I doubt he tears it apart. Assuming he’s the stubborn old man I think he is.

  5. AD says:

    What do you think the difference is in trade value before March 5th, and after March 5th?

    Do you really think the Rangers can let this go unresolved after the deadline?

    • Dave says:

      Trade value will depend on contract status. Goes down significantly after the deadline because it becomes a trade for negotiating rights instead of a player to help for a playoff run.

      I don’t really think it’s a matter of being unresolved at the deadline or not. This team is in the playoff hunt. They aren’t trading their captain.

      • AD says:

        Ok I can buy into the notion of not wanting to trade their captain.

        Yet, that must imply you think he gets signed before the trade deadline, no?

        I cannot envision the Rangers running the risk of Callahan getting a $6.5mm bid away this summer and walking for nothing.

        • Dave says:

          I don’t think a contract will be in place before the deadline, but they aren’t trading him. They don’t need to have a deal in place.

  6. Dave says:

    I ballparked Cally at $5.5m. I’m guessing he gets 5-6 years, +/- $500k a year.

    • WilliamW says:

      I agree with this estimate and think its a fair deal for both sides. As the article does a great job of pointing out, Callahan is a cornerstone type player and his consistency of effort and results add significant stability to the team. I see him coming at a slight discount to Brown

    • Kevin says:

      5.5 for Cally in his 30+ years? That is not easy to swallow

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      I think that’s a fair deal for both sides. Cally will get paid. That is what the players got in the new CBA. Some power & perks were taken from the RFA’s & given to the UFA’s. It’s his time now to cash in. 6 years and 32-34 mil is fair deal for him and it doesn’t become a burdon on the team with Caps increasing annually. In a year when the GM fired the coach and pulled a hard 180• with AV after this team was built around Torts. I just don’t see how trading the captain away makes the Rangers any better. If anything Sather might rent another teams captain for a playoff run. No rebuild here. Just win baby as a wise man once (or twice) said.

  7. Kevin says:

    I don’t think it’s certain at all that Callahan is still a Ranger after March 5th. Trading him is still the best financial move for the team as well probably an improvement on the ice as well

    • WilliamW says:

      Trade him for who? Realistically, the Rangers are gearing up for a playoff run and don’t want mid/lower 1st round picks.

      While the idea of getting a future superstar always entices fans, those top picks aren’t given away very often. For example, Buffalo isn’t going to trade the #1 pick in the draft for a guy who rooted for them 10 years ago

      Callahan is about a solid 2nd line RW as you can find in this league and $5.5 mm is the market price for non-RFAs at that level

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      In a trade, what do you take back though? I wouldn’t just want pieces back “for the future”. The team is headed into the playoffs and if they want to go on a run, we need NHL proven assets.

      • Kevin says:

        you don’t think the Rangers can get a top six scoring forward from a non playoff team for Callahan?

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          Nope. What good does a soon to be UFA Callahan do for a non-playoff team?

    • Centerman21 says:

      All the things he does and where this team is right now? How does that make the Rangers better? By getting a pick and/or a prospect for the captain of the team they will be better come the playoffs? That’s just bad hatred for a core player and it wouldn’t fly amongst the majority of Ranger fans. You’d be in the minority on that!

  8. Chris A says:

    You guys aren’t factoring in the fact that staying with the Rangers assures Callahan of a good paying job within the org after his playing days. There aren’t many long serving NYR captains that get left out in the cold.

    The only way I see him leaving the Rangers if someone makes a massive overpay, basically if a team offers $8M per season for 6~7 years. Callahan will re-sign for $5.6M/for 7 years.

  9. Erixon20 says:

    I think his reduced role under AV may be an indicator.

    • Dave says:

      PP role reduced because of the emergence of Pouliot-Zucc-Brassard as a viable powerplay unit. Kreider on PP1 also further reduces Cally’s role.

      At ES, I put it at AV using more balanced lines. Torts rolled 3 lines, AV rolls 4.

    • Chris A says:

      It’s an indicator that this year’s team is better than in recent seasons and has more depth. As a result of that improved depth the team can play Callahan in his proper role as 2/3 RW that eats all the key defensive minutes while still being able to chip in on offense.

  10. SalMerc says:

    I cannot see a scenario where near-equal value can be measured in the short-term. While the CAP hit is significant, I highly doubt a move is made before he hits the open market.

    He gets injured because he plays hard. His time off the ice hurts us as much as his time on the ice helps. I do not think you find a player with equal heart out there, but you may find a better forward for the money.

  11. rangerinexile says:

    How does the impending cap raise effect this deal? It helped shape the deal with Lundqvist, might it also play a role in retaining the Captain?

    • The Suit says:

      The cap raise has been known for quite awhile, so I don’t think it will have too much of an affect. I think Cally will ultimately be paid along the lines of what Brown got, maybe a little less.

  12. Joe says:

    I think this will be Cally’s decision. The Rangers will make him a decent offer. If he wants to be a Ranger the rest of his career, he will sign. If its all about the benjamins, he goes elsewhere. 5.5 seems a little salty to me, but it aint my money…and is there a better option out there?

    • The Suit says:

      That’s the thing. Even if you think Cally is ‘over rated’ or trading him ‘makes financial sense’. It really doesn’t make any sense at all to part with him.

      The reality is there are very few quality right wingers available in UFA this year. The ones that are available are all older than Cally and will probably cost more and would be riskier signings.

  13. ken jacobs says:

    Ok, look. Cally to me is Jeter. I’m an unsophisticated fan who loves the game, loves my team, has a need for Andy Robustelli to be a Giant, Bill Bradley a Knick, The Mick a Yankee, and so on, up to and including The Splendid Splinter! Ryan Callahan is to me what the Rangers are all about. We don’t win it all often, but, we work our butts off year after year to give the fans (me and you) the best product they can put on the ice, no matter how badly owners and management screw it up. Ryan Callahan should play his entire career as a Ranger!

    • Walt says:

      I, to a certain extent agree with what you say, but business is business, and a team has to run that way.

      I want Callie on my team, but if the demands are too great by him, or his agent, we have to move on, as cold as that sounds. I do believe that the decision will be Ryan’s. He will get a fair offer, and if he gets greedy, and doesn’t want to stay, we’ll wish him the best, and trade him off. The sun will indeed rise tomorrow!!!

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        I agree Walt. I root for the sweater,the sweater. Connor McDavid 2015 collect 1st rd picks if these guys don’t sign by trade deadline.

    • JoeS. says:

      Totally agree, Cally should never go! and don’t forget…Seaver a Met!

  14. Johnny Red says:

    I LOVE Cally but it’s time this team learns to trade guys at their peak to get a lot then wait until there is little value. This team is not a cup contender by any means. At best we might get through 2 rounds. Why not trade him and Giradi and stock up for the future, or get a good scorer. We would still have Hank, Nash, Stepan, Kreider, and others. It hurt to do it but it’s the right move for the future of this team!!

    • Ray says:

      A NY Ranger team headed for the playoffs is never going to be a seller at the trade deadline. They are not going to write off the Cup, though it be unlikely. However, the Rangers can win the Cup. The Ducks got to the seventh game of the finals in 2003 with a team no better than this one. What they had though was Giguere, a goalie in a zone. Lundqvist has never been the best goalie in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be. He is certainly a better every day goalie than Giguere ever was and he certainly stepped up to win a gold medal for Sweden. If Lundqvist steps up, if the Rangers are fully healthy, if Nash plays likes he’s playing now and Step, Cally play like they have in the past. A lot of ifs, but not a place for Sather to throw in the towel – unless the Rangers get crushed by injuries before the trade deadline.

    • JoeS. says:

      no clue

  15. JoeS. says:

    Hey Suit, just wanted to say Thanks! Much Appreciated!

  16. NY to NC says:

    Under AV’s system Callahan has become somewhat obsolete. He is best when grinding and cycling behind the other team’s net…and this is no longer the Rangers style of play and we are seeing less of it everyday. I’d trade him at the deadline for a great draft pick, buy out Richards at the end of the season and focus on getting O’Reilly from the Avalanche.
    Also, not going to be much left to Cally in 2 – 3 years – his size will work against him over time.