The reaction from New York Rangers over the news of the team trading captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for captain Martin St. Louis has been split 50/50. I am on the side of liking the trade, so I guess it is my job to try to convince the other 50 percent to change their minds.
There are many reasons to like this trade from a Rangers’ standpoint. One is that they acquired one of the top goal scorers in the league. St. Louis, in 62 games this season, has 29 goals and 32 assists, totaling 61 points. Callahan on the other hand, in just 45 games, has only 11 goals and 14 assists, totaling 25 points. St. Louis has more goals than Callahan has points, so obviously the offensive edge goes to St. Louis.
Now, I know stats are not everything. Everyone talks about how Callahan is such a great leader and that is why the Rangers’ should not have traded him. Well, people tend to forget that St. Louis was the Lightning’s captain and is just as respected a leader as Callahan, and even more so. Plus, St. Louis has won a Stanley Cup before in his career.
If Callahan really was a leader with this team and his heart was with the Rangers like he said it was, he would have lowered his asking price to a reasonable amount to re-sign with the Rangers. True leaders do not value money more than the team.
Another argument is the age difference. Yes, Callahan is 28 while St. Louis is 38, but with all of the vigorous shot-blocking Callahan’s body has endured over the years plus his proneness to injury, I do not think it would be going out on a limb saying St. Louis is in better physical shape than Callahan regardless of age. I could be wrong, but just look at that picture of St. Louis’ legs on social media and see for yourself.
Many Rangers fans say that Callahan is one of the best defensive forwards in the game, and I cannot argue that; but when looking at the numbers this year, you will see differently. Depending on how much stock you put in plus-minus, you will see that St. Louis is a +12 on the season while Callahan is a -3, meaning Callahan is on the ice more when the Rangers’ give up goals as opposed to St. Louis, who has been on the ice more when his team scores.
Callahan makes less money than St. Louis right now, but if the Rangers agreed to the contract he was seeking, he would be making almost $1 million more than St. Louis for over a six-year period, which I find to be absurd. You just do not pay a grinder forward, captain or not, over $6 million per season for six years.
St. Louis, on the other hand makes less than $6 million, is an elite goal scorer, and is only under contract through next year, saving the Rangers a good amount of money in the long run.
Also, for the people saying the Rangers are mortgaging the future on this trade, they traded two draft picks and zero prospects along with Callahan in this deal. They did not have to give up J.T. Miller, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, Brady Skjei, Anthony Duclair, or any of those prospects that the Rangers think highly of.
,Plus the draft is a crapshoot anyway. More times than not, the Rangers’ first-round draft picks do not pan out. Don’t believe me? Just look at Hugh Jessiman, Michael Del Zotto, and Dylan Mcilrath.
In my opinion, the Rangers improved their roster for this season and opened up the possibilities of having a better future with this trade.
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