Without even scoring a goal last night, Mats Zuccarello took over the show for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders in their final meeting of the season at Madison Square Garden. His creativity, vision, and determination lead to the chants of his name, and it has made me realize that he is now officially more valuable to the Rangers than captain Ryan Callahan.
Zuccarello is a restricted free agent next season, which means GM Glen Sather will give him a raise but will not feel the pressure of other teams offering him more money. Callahan on the other hand, is an unrestricted free agent, meaning that any team interested in his services can offer him a contract and sign him. While Sather can wait on extending Zuccarello, he needs to know Callahan’s future as quickly as possible.
Sather has said that he wants Callahan’s future decided before the Olympic break, which is only days away. Callahan wants a seven-year deal worth $6 million per season. Even though he is a good captain and is great on the penalty kill, he is a third-line winger on any other team — and third-liners do not get elite contracts.
When compared to Zuccarello, not only does Zuccarello produce more than Callahan offensively, but Callahan has also been very injury-prone over the past few seasons. By the way, Zuccarello currently makes $1.15 million while Callahan makes $4.275 million.
Also Zuccarello, not Callahan, is currently tied for first on the team in points. So if anything, Zuccarello deserves the $2 million raise and not Callahan. I like both of these players but right now, Zuccarello is the player who deserves a contract extension from the Rangers out of the two.
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