Last night, news broke that TSN’s Bob McKenzie joined the discussion about the possibility of trading Ryan Callahan. While McKenzie did not specifically state Cally would be traded, he alluded to the fact that he will either re-sign or be dealt by the trade deadline. I am sticking to my prediction that Cally re-signs, but when McKenzie says there’s a chance Cally will be traded, you listen.
I again need to be on record: A team that is in the thick of things in the conference –and has a legitimate shot at representing the Eastern Conference this May/June– doesn’t trade their captain. It doesn’t happen. That said, McKenzie’s comments have shifted things, and for the sake of argument, there are 29 teams that could use Cally’s services. So let’s go through these possibilities.
The Rangers (likely) aren’t trading Cally to an Eastern Conference foe. They won’t deal him to a team from the East that is going to make the playoffs. Any team that is out of the playoffs won’t deal assets for him. So the East is out.
The Blues are the heavily rumored target, since Chris Stewart has been a name linked to the Rangers. Of course, Cally for Stewart is a coup for the Blues. That isn’t happening. The conversation begins and ends with either Vladimir Tarasenko or Jaden Schwartz. I doubt the Blues consider that, but I’m not in the know. Let’s rule them out for now.
Vancouver and John Tortorella are the next logical target due to history. The only problem is that I don’t see the ‘Nucks dealing something worth while to land Cally. If you’re thinking you can get Ryan Kesler, think again. Is there anyone else in Vancouver that makes sense?
Colorado is a possibility, given the rampant scouting the past month. Paul Stastny certainly fills a hole. P.A. Parenteau is rumored to be on the block, although I doubt the Rangers trade Cally for someone they let go for free (Seriousy, who saw that coming? Oof). Ryan O’Reilly is a name that keeps coming up, but I doubt he gets moved. Jamie McGinn makes no sense unless it’s a package deal, and the package would need to be significant. Colorado would be the most likely target. Again, that’s a big IF.
Cally is not necessarily irreplaceable, but he’s not easily replaced. He means more to the team than he does as a tradeable asset. Therein lies the conundrum. A team built for a run through the conference does not trade their captain. A team with Henrik Lundqvist that can feasibly win the conference can also ask their elite goaltender to steal a series. Hank has stolen a few series before. No reason why he can’t do it again.
The problem with trading Ryan Callahan is that you may not get the return that helps this year and in future years. This isn’t NHL ’14, where you can trade him based on an arbitrary trade value bar. Cally is worth more to the Rangers than he is to other teams at the trade deadline. The UFA market is different of course, but this is a Rangers team that’s won 15 of 21 and is steamrolling opponents. Status quo may not get it done, but trading the captain doesn’t get it done either.