Cally’s “$7 million demands” are not that surprising

Photo: Hockey This Week
Photo: Hockey This Week

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.

Sound familiar?

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.

49 thoughts on “Cally’s “$7 million demands” are not that surprising

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    With Callahan this is not the case, Girardi Yes. Buffalo will sign Callahan to whatever he wants. Why? Because they get a legit player and a marketing tool. He will bring in money in other ways.
    Buffalo has the cap room to do that. They also don’t have to trade for him because they can get him at free agency without the loss of an asset. If they decide they would trade for him we must instantly grab the bounty.
    We have a high probability of losing Callahan for nothing if we decide to try and sign him from now to July 1st. Sadly we are left with no option but to trade him.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      You raise some good points… but whose to say Callahan wants to leave a contender to go play for a perennial stinker.

      Remember Lundy’s contract negotiations…. after the deal was signed he came out and said it became very clear to him that he wants to win a cup IN NY. That is his main career goal. He didn’t say that until after the deal was done and he got his 8.5 per for 7 years. It is very possible Callahan has similiar feelings, but we will never know until there is some closure on this situation.

      I’m with Dave, in thinking that when all said and done, Callahan will be a Ranger beyond this year. I just hope we don’t handcuff ourselves with the contract.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        Your discounting the fact that Callie is from Rochester, some 75 miles from Buffalo, where the family probably goes to during the off season.

        If he signs with Buffalo he gets the $7 mil he is asking for, plus, and this is a big plus, no NYC taxes, which could be during the life of his contract well over $500,000 or more. If he is looking to hit the lotto, and gets greedy, well maybe he goes to a young team, that is building, and may contend for the cup in a few years.

        The time has come for Callie, and his agent to sh*t, or get off the pot. You want to go, by by, take care. If you want to stay, well sign on the dotted line. In either case, we will you the best!!!!!

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

          I understand that and am not discounting it. I went to school in Rochester and know the area well.

          I just don’t always subscribe to the notion that every player will return to their old stomping grounds come UFA time. I’m sure Callahan would consider it a bonus to go home but to say he’s IS GOING TO or WANTS TO play in Buffalo and teams will need to pay a premium in order to get him to sign elsewhere is a bit too far.

          If you’re going to tell me that, then also tell me if he prefers Jockey or Hanes. My point is that none of us know these guys that intimately to comment. “Callahan wants to play near Rochester.” “Staal wants to play with his brothers.”

          Things like this need to be factored in, yes, but they’re not the end all be all.

          That said, you’re NYC tax comment is interesting and something I didn’t know was a factor. My gf works in Manhattan, I’ll have to ask her if she gets a deduction on her income as I’m curious if one exists.

          • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

            NYC residents pay NYC income tax in addition to Federal income tax and NYS income tax

            I think that’s what Walt was referring to. And he’s right that it can add up to a significant figure over the lifetime of the contract. I don’t know about $500k but it’s not chump change either.

          • Feb 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

            Where U of R, or RIT??????

            • Feb 5, 2014 at 4:13 am

              Peyton Manning had to pay 50 large for working one day in NJ. Thats the problem with a progressive tax compared to a flat tax; as well as a a state income tax in general.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Buffalo is not winning a Cup. That needs to be factored in here.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        Buffalo is not winning a cup this year. They have a very good pool of prospects that could develop in to very good NHLers under the tutelage of players like Cally and Ott. They may be able to convince Cally that they have the potential to win a cup in 4 years. As Leatherneckinlv makes a good point that the same 7 year $7 million contract would be an overpayment for the Rangers, but not necessarily for the Sabres.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm


      The Rangers don’t have to give themselves until July 1st to sign him, in which case it would be too late to get any assets back in a trade if they can’t get a deal done.

      This is why the team has given itself a much shorter timeframe to work with to get Callahan signed before they are open to a trade.

      No need to rush and dump Callahan now, when they have months to sign him and still have a trade in the back-pocket.

      I suspect they will sign him very, very soon. If this is still going on in March, however, the likelihood of a trade increases all the way up to the trade deadline.

      No need to panic and overreact yet.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    “I’ll give the Rangers a hometown discount” said no player ever.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      I’m not saying Callahan should take a discount. I feel players should get what they can in their careers, as short lived as many of them are. But to say a player has never given a home town discount just isn’t true. It happens, albeit rarely.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        Exactly, case in point Cindy Crosby has already!!!!! Hell Igor I believe is now making more than Crosby, does that make sense, yeah, Cindy wants to keep the team, and it’s best players together.

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

          The point was no one ever does that on the Rangers. It wasn’t a general statement. Go back and read what I said. Then tell me a Ranger that has taken a pretty significant discount to sign with the team. I’m talking something like what Hossa did wen he signed with Detroit a couple years ago. The Gm told Hossa he wouldn’t have anyone on his team making more money than Lidstrom. Hossa said “where do I sign?”

          • Feb 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

            Your making my point for me. Hossa wanted to win a cup, so he signed for a little less. Brown did the same thing, signed for less to keep his team together in LA, as did Crosby. If money is the only thing that matters, go elsewhere and get it, but don’t expect us to support your greed. At the same time don’t give me the crap how I want to stay here, and win here, that is all Bull Sh*t!!

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    trade him!

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    he’s not acting like a captain if he want to cripple this team finacially

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I’m not as sure about Callahan returning as I was about Henrik. Henrik wasn’t going anywhere because he was essential to the team, and was paid accordingly. I’m not so sure Sather feels Callahan is as essential.

    There is some merit to Bartlett’s comments. We’ve seen the Rangers take a hard-line stance on their own before (see: Callahan, Ryan on his last contract) and this may be the time Callahan looks to see what he can get on the open market, not owing the team anything.

    There lies the dilemma. If Callahan is intent on testing the market (if he doesn’t get offered what he considers market value), what do the Rangers do? What if Sather really does want to resolve this by the Olympics, and there is no coming together on an agreement?

    Callahan may be a Ranger next season, but not if either side feels too strongly about their position (Sather that Callahan is not worth market value, or Callahan that he’s worth market value and is willing to test it).

    This next week will be fascinating.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Not taking a hardline stance on your RFAs is irresponsible.

      If Cally feels hard done about what went on last time, then maybe he should leave. The Rangers aren’t going to overpay just to keep their captain. I still can’t see him leaving though. The Rangers can easily make up the few million he gives up now by taking a fair offer by taking care of Callahan in his post playing days.

      The Rangers take care of their own when those players put the team first. Notice Chris Drury doesn’t come around after taking a hardline on that final year of his contract.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm

        I’m not saying Callahan feels insulted by the last contract (he may very well feel that way), but my point is that he may feel now is the time to try to get the most money he can, seeing as how he now has leverage, and it’s most likely the last big contract of his career.

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          I can’t disagree with that.

          My point was that Callahan can take the money now and move to whatever team will pay him, or he can stay here, for a little less, and be a NYC sports icon, and reap the substantial rewards that come with that status, the rest of his life.

          I keep thinking that Rangers might offer Cally a heavily frontloaded six or seven year deal and trade him away with two years left to a team that is struggling to reach the Salary Floor.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Callahan and Lundqvuist are like apples and oranges in comparison. Lundqvuist also has a career as MR GQ. What better place than NY? Callahan is from that area closer to Buffalo. He has a family. Family can go a long way. Buffalo wont be far from a rebuild to become contenders. They have many QUALITY prospects. Girgenson, Gorienko, Psysk, Luke Adam, Amira, Zhardov, probably Reinhat or Eckbald this year, and thats just to name a few.
    Buffalo should hold on to Miller but if they don’t more assets headed to Buffalo. Callahan would be an awesome Captain for that group of youngsters. Buffalo has nothing to lose and everything to gain here as does Callahan.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Seriously how much money do these guys really need. In many cases it’s laa about ego, like Cano, and often players live to regret it. If I’m Slats, it’s 6 mil for 5 years. If Cally wants more then there is no option but to trade him sad as it will be, but a holdout didn’t help Stepan. Gotta give it to Mac, it was done fast and he didn’t quibble over dollars and make it about ego. I respect a guy like that.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I like the example of Cano, Offer Cally fair money for 5 or 6, but not 7 years. If he feels he can get more elsewhere, then trade him. Cano has a fat wallet now, but lets see him in 2016 when he is in 5th place and not advertising Subway sandwiches in broken English anymore.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        The big difference between Callahan and Cano is that one team is currently a contender and the other is currently struggling through a deep downturn. Also Seattle made a gross overpay to get Cano. If Buffalo (or anyone else) is willing to pay a 29 year old 45 pt. scorer $7M a season, best of luck to them.

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

          Yankees were 8 games over .500 and Seattle 20 games under .500, so comparison is fair. You don’t think Seattle overpaid? Cano 31 and Cally 28, BUT you can play baseball at 35 but fewer do so in hockey.

          • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

            I don’t want to get into a baseball war on a hockey blog. Based on last year’s records, yes, your comparison was fair.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    There are more than just Cally’s and the Rangers interests at work here. Agents ability to attract and keep clients are based on how well they handle a situation exactly like this…aka a tough one. Cally is letting his agent earn his fee and rightly so.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Dustin Brown apparently went into the negotiation with his Mom and no agent BS – cut straight to what he thought was a fair deal and commented how he wants enough cap space after he signs to allow for additional signings to keep them in contention – true captain material there

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Everyone points to Dustin Brown’s bad contract,see David Backes fair contract.Trade Callahan for a player to help going forward or a 1st in 2015 see Connor McDavid.Don’t over pay.He is replaceable.You want to sign someone sign Cam Talbot.That would be a more important signing.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Ryan Callahan is not getting you Connor McDavid.

      He also can’t get you McDavid. Like, it’s virtually impossible to predict who will have the #1 pick next year, and then trade Cally to that team, even if said team would accept said trade.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        My thinking Dave is to collect first rd picks in 2015 a good draft yaer.You trade Cally for a first rd pick in 2015.Hell, if he can’t bring back a first rd pick he sure isn’t worth the money.My point is don’t over pay for this guy.Cam Talbot and others need to be signed.Who would you rather have Backes or Cally.Backes makes just under 4.8 and Callahan wants 7 for 7.I rather sign Talbot and trade Callahan.Who’s more important to this team if Hank gets hurt.

      • Feb 5, 2014 at 4:24 am

        Jack Eichel is the kid to watch, usa center men. NYR should be loading up on 2015 first round picks!

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      I hate to burst your bubble but at best the Rangers are getting a lower 1st round pick or more likely a 2nd rounder for Callahan. There is no way a team in the top half of the draft is surrendering their 1st round pick for a pending UFA.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm

        Cally likely fetches you a young NHL guy or top prospect AND a 1st round pick from a competitor.

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

          I figured for Girardi that price tag made sense, but for Callahan? I find it hard to believe a team would give up a draft pick around #20 (what NJ got for Schneider) PLUS an A-/B+ prospect.

          That seems like a hefty price tag for a 2nd/3rd line UFA winger. If I recall, this blog was comparing the potential Girardi haul to what Atlanta got for Marian Hossa. I love Callahan, but he’s no Marian Hossa, not even close.

          • Feb 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

            Girardi fetches more than Cally. But Cally still fetches a top prospect and a first.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Wait, people can actually ask for a raise? What strange magic is this? (I work for a large company that has everything boiled down to charts and skewed bell curves, including who gets a raise and how much…)

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I give a 100% effort every night in all three zones, one of the few who do so. In return I get low ball offers from Sather, labeled as injury prone, and zero powerplay time, while real injury prone guys like Gaborik or one zone players like Richards get the moon.

    Thanks Rangers fans! Loyal bunch.

    • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      You are injury prone. You are not a big-time scorer.

      True, you play your heart out in all 3 zones, every game. But someone like that does not get $6-$7 million per, for 7-8 years. You are the type who conceivably will start a severe decline at age 32-33, based on your-all-out style. In that case, I , as GM of the Rangers, can’t offer you a long-term deal above 5 years. Maybe 6. That’s it though.

      Sorry, but that’s the way it has to be for the overall good of the team.

      • Feb 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

        Three 20 goal years. Lockout year was an 82 game pace 20 goal year (16 goals in 45 games). 19 goals in 77 games another year.

        All told, that’s 5 (I rounded up) 20 goal years.

        • Feb 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm

          And rounding up, Dustin Brown (same age) has five 25 goal seasons. 191 career goals to 130 for Callahan.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    First off I believe Callahan will be a Ranger next year as well. Unless of course his current demands are not flexible, and that does not seem to be the case if Dave is right and it is just negotiations. So, Sather should offer him 2 contracts for him to choose. You want 7 Million? I’ll give you two years and 14 million. You want security and to remain a Ranger, and have a better chance at the cup with us? I’ll give you 5 years and 30 million. If you want 7 million past 2 years, or more than 5 years, you’re going to be traded, because that is in the best interest of the New York Rangers organization going forward.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Why compare Callahan to Dustin Brown? Why not compare him to Crosby? Not much more absurd. If I’m Sather and Cally’s agent asks me for $6.75M a year, I laugh and tell him to come back when he’s going to be serious. The Rangers can’t afford to take a cap hit of 20 million a year for Lundqvist, Girardi, and Callahan because they are fan favorites. Cally is a second line forward who doesn’t play on the power play and is not terribly good on the penalty kill. Good player, not a star – current salary may even be a stretch in true value.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I don’t understand the obsession with not losing Callahan for nothing. A player who will play next year for the highest bidder has no long term value. His only value is this year, to help some team win the Cup. Such a player has value to many teams, including the Rangers. One way to get value from this asset is to win the Cup this year or go an extra round in. Trading Callahan for a draft choice at this point is trading the present for the future. A good option for a deadline seller of course, but is that what the Rangers are.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I think he’s a goner. Will always hope he does well, except against the Rangers, but this negotiation feels different from G’s and Hank’s. The Rangers have dug in.

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Trade him back to Torts , he wants change in Vancouver . Cally and a 3rd for Kessler

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    We are talking about the gm who traded Wayne Gretzky.

    Anything is possible

  • Feb 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Not surprised at all by Callahans’ asking price…greed has no boundaries.

Comments are closed.