Ryan Callahan‘s contract demands have dropped from $7 million per season to below $6.5 million. Even so, the New York Rangers should not re-sign him for such a high price. While Callahan played well in the Olympics, he has not been consistent enough to warrant such a contract that perennial 30-goal scorers receive.
Callahan is on pace for just 36 points, which would signify a career-low in seasons where he has played in 60 or more games. Put plainly, re-signing Callahan is madness.
Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and that’s exactly what the Rangers will be doing if they re-sign Callahan. There will be no room for growth, no room for new faces either on the roster or in their cap structure, and there will be no improvement on the team. The Rangers have other contracts for better players that they need to worry about, including Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider this offseason and Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin the following summer. All of these players are producing at much better clips than Callahan and deserve their pay raises more than he does.
Callahan does not fit the current system that the Rangers play. Callahan is the quintessential ‘John Tortorella-type’ player. Even though they had a rough patch when Tortorella was on the outs in New York, Callahan simply is a product of that system. Callahan no longer plays a prominent role on the power play, nor is he producing as much with the man advantage. Keeping him on the team would not enhance the squad in the future.
If Callahan were to sign for $6.5 million, he would be making more than players such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, both Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic to name a few. Callahan does not warrant a higher salary than any of those players. He is simply a tier below them and does not have the quality of play or the production to warrant such pay.
While basing future contracts off of past experiences is the basis of negotiations, the Rangers cannot be fooled by the 29-goal Callahan. That Callahan is not who the Rangers’ captain is anymore, so extending him based on that expectation as he nears the wrong side of 30 just continues the perpetuity of madness within the organization.
Trading Callahan can break the cycle and help the Rangers. Whether they trade him for a roster player such as Martin St. Louis or for picks and prospects, trading Callahan at the March 5 trade deadline must happen. The team cannot re-sign him with his demands, and they also cannot let him walk as a free agent. He is simply too valuable of a trade asset to let go for free, yet cannot stay on this current team.