Ranger Captain Ryan Callahan is just a few short months from his impending unrestricted free agency. Most of the Blueshirt faithful assume that signing the “heart and soul” player is a no-brainer, a tap-in put. A gimmie goal. We feel differently, very differently.
In recent days, the discussion has heated up to a boiling point with Glen Sather apparently wanting to resolve the matter one way or another before the Olympic break.
When the subject of trading Callahan is broached, several questions arise in Rangerstown™.
“How can they trade their captain?”
Wayne Gretzky was traded. Anyone can be traded. Especially a captain with an injury history who has never cracked 55 points or 30 goals in a single season and is asking for rdiculous amounts of money for ridiculous amounts of years.
“But Callahan is so important. He does so much.” Really?
Callahan is not a prolific scorer and he isn’t physically intimidating. He is a very good penalty killer and he hits and blocks shots. He has an injury history and he will be turning 30 in the first year of his next contract and once again, he has never topped 60 points or 30 goals. While point production isn’t the only factor in assigning value, Callahan is the third best right winger on the team right now. He doesn’t deserve anything anywhere near 6 million a year, or 5 million for that length of time? Zuccarello is a much more important sign, so are Kreider, Stralman and Girardi.
“But what about the many intangibles he brings?.” Are these “intangibles” really worth 6 million a year, or even 5? for more than a year or two?
Fans must approach this question with their heads and not their hearts. Callahan is overrated. Sather should not pay him first line money to be a third liner. And committing six more years to a player, who plays a physical game (that often leads to injury) is not a wise move. As bad as Brad Richards contract is, and it is awful, Richards was only expected to produce points. Callahan will be expected to bring the physical game, but what happens when age and wear and tear don’t allow a 33 year old Callahan to play that type of game? How is that 6 million per year contract going to look when Cally is chipping in 12 goals a season and shying from contact to avoid injury?
“But Cally is the heart and soul of the Rangers!”
Is he really? Watch a game and ask yourself who shows more heart, Cally or Zuccarello. Callahan is a nice player. Cally has been invisible for long stretches of this season. Is he a good leader? Who knows? How many stories have you actually read describing Captain Cally firing up the troops with a pre-game speech?
We often disagree with Sather. Almost always. But in this case, if he trades Callahan, we support the move.
The Rangers need a third line forward with some grit and a physical presence. They need someone who can answer to the bullies up in Boston, or anyone who messes with a fellow Blueshirt. The Rangers have no one amongst their forward corps who presently fits that bill.
The Rangers have given at least two teams permission to talk to Callahan’s agent to arrange a sign and trade. And the name of Chris Stewart is the name most bandied about. We also would love to see old friend Brandon Dubinsky back on Broadway.
Sather should make the move to add physical presence now to give the team time to gel before they make a run and the thing most missing is a physical presence on the third line. Callahan has played with nothing but heart and hustle for the majority of his Ranger career. But heart and hustle don’t justify Cally’s outlandish demands. In his walk year, this is the time for Sather to move him and bring some value.