With less than 24 hours left until the trade deadline eclipses and all NHL rosters are locked until free agency opens in June, one burning question that still remains is whether or not the most talked about trade rumor, New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, will be dealt.
Up to this point, it seemed as if sources from all over the world of sports were all in agreement that the Rangers were going to trade Callahan. First, it was before the Olympic break, but that never happened. Next, he was going to be moved as soon as the NHL roster freeze was lifted after the Olympics, but that never happened. Then, sources reported that the Rangers and Callahan had made ground on contract negotiations, but the two camps were still far apart on the financials of the deal.
The common denominator in all of these rumors has been that the Rangers will settle the Callahan issue at some point this season before the trade deadline. Well, we’re here; the deadline is tomorrow and still no verdict in the Callahan case.
So, what is going to happen to the Rangers’ captain?
If you ask Rangers GM Glen Sather, he said that this whole debate would have been settled before the Olympic break. Well, that certainly is not true, because here we are the night before the deadline and the Callahan situation is still up in the air.
If Sather is smart, he will either conjure up a deal to move Callahan tomorrow, or he will give in to Callahan’s requests and re-sign him tomorrow. If neither of those things happen, then the Rangers will be in big trouble; namely, as Callahan will hold all of the power in the situation and most likely explore his options in free agency this summer, a worst case scenario for the Rangers.
At this point, it looks as if the Rangers are headed to the latter of what I just discussed. After re-signing defenseman Dan Girardi to a multi-year contract extension, the Rangers are most likely not going to sign Callahan to a contract in the range of what he wants, which is $5-6 million.
The Rangers are in big trouble here as the organization attempts to avoid the disaster of losing Callahan for nothing in free agency. A player of the caliber of Callahan will be a hit in free agency and will arguably be the most desired free agent of the summer. The Rangers will end up like the New Jersey Devils did when they lost superstar Zach Parise. However, unlike the Devils, the Rangers have the means to avoid such disaster by trading Callahan or re-signing him; either choice will benefit the Rangers.
Going off of the recent resume of Sather, however, the Rangers will most likely stall negotiations with Callahan, expecting that eventually Callahan will give into their demands, and Callahan will go explore his options in June, thus resulting in the Rangers losing their captain and getting nothing but cap space in return.
If the Rangers end up losing Callahan, then that must be the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of Sather’s career as the Rangers’ GM. If the Rangers lose Callahan, they must also lose Sather in order to avoid a downward spiral that will not end until Sather leaves.