In case you missed it, Darren Dreger reported on TSN Insider yesterday that captain Ryan Callahan does not want seven years and $6 million, he wants $7 years at “between $6.5 million and $7 million.” Dreger is not one to really mess around when it comes to rumors either.
Now before I go into my spiel about negotiations, step one in the process, et cetera et cetera, let’s point out that this is just that: Step one in the process. Also, read this post.
All caught up? Relaxed a bit? Ok good. Let’s point out the specifics of this demand, and why it really shouldn’t be all that surprising to anyone. Remember, this is step one in the negotiations process.
Let’s say you know your market value is $100,000 at your job. You are getting paid $90,000, and you want a raise. Do you ask for $100,000? No, because your boss, if he/she is the “tough but fair” type, will meet you in the middle at $95,000. You get more money, but you are still below market value.
So you initially ask for something that is slightly above market value, say 10% more. You ask for $110,000. Boss meets you in the middle at $100,000, and everyone is happy (presuming your company wants to keep you). This is an overly simplistic view of the Ryan Callahan situation.
Steve Bartlett, Cally’s agent, knows the market value of his client is around Dustin Brown’s, who signed an eight year contract extension with the Kings at $5.875 million a season. In the professional sports world, you sacrifice years for dollars. So let’s ballpark Cally around five or six years at $6 million, give or take $500,000 (a bit less than 10%). That’s roughly Cally’s market value. Bartlett knows this. Slats knows this.
The second thing to keep in mind is that Dreger never said “He wants $7 million.” Dreger said “He wants more than $6.5 million, upwards of $7 million.” Even his colleagues on TSN ballparked it at $6.75 million. So let’s use that figure. $6.75 million is slightly more than 10% above perceived market value.
When dealing with such large numbers, it’s a good idea to keep the percentages in mind. Cally’s demands are in line with your standard negotiations. That’s why I wasn’t all that surprised –or outraged– when I heard his demands. I don’t think any of us on the BSB staff were phased, to be honest.
There are other factors in play here, specifically Bartlett’s comments saying the Rangers “pay strangers then ask family to take less.” It’s not entirely false, but it’s not entirely true either. Players that hit the open market cost more because the negotiations aren’t exclusive. It’s Negotiations 101. Cally’s negotiations, at this point, are exclusive. It requires a different strategy. I take Bartlett’s comments as a publicity ploy to win over fans. It worked.
There’s also the self-imposed deadline to have deals in place by the roster freeze for the Olympics. That’s more of a preference than it is an actual deadline. The actual deadline is June 30. Sure, you would like to see them get something for Cally if he’s just going to bolt, but you don’t do that in the middle of a hot streak in a wide open conference. No Eastern Conference team scares me, and given the way they are playing, the Rangers can take any of them in a seven game series. You don’t trade your captain in this situation.
So what do we make of all this?
There’s going to be a lot of news from both sides that is either leaked or assumed. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride until he re-signs. It was like this just four months ago before Henrik Lundqvist signed his extension. All the talk of will-he-or-won’t-he, trade him, will they trade him? It was almost unbearable. It didn’t hit this level, but it was out there.
My advice: Don’t get overly emotional when news leaks. The media’s job is to report news they hear. The agent’s job is to use the media to report news they want the fans to hear. It’s our job here to sift through all of that and take an objective view on it. I stand by my assertion that Cally will be a Ranger next season.