Ryan Callahan was born in Rochester, NY, just a 6 hour drive from Madison Square Garden, where he’s captain of the team that drafted him 10 years ago. He’s considered the heart and soul of the New York Rangers, as an excellent two-way forward that can score and create offense with ease.
And the Rangers are considering trading him.
Currently, Callahan is in the last year of a 3 year deal, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at seasons’ end. Word is, from the NY Post, that Callahan is looking for an extension in the neighborhood of 7 years and $42 million. The Rangers, who just gave a hefty extension to Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh, as well as holding massive contracts from Brad Richards and Rick Nash, are getting handcuffed with the salary cap. Next year, according to capgeek.com, the Rangers will owe 10 players $42M+ against the salary cap, leaving them less than $30M to put together the rest of their roster.
If Callahan and the Rangers indeed agree with those terms, that would be 11 players owed $48M+ against the cap, which is an awful situation that the Rangers would rather avoid. However, it’s very likely that if Callahan would hit the open market right now, he would very easily reach those numbers or more.
That’s why the Rangers are thinking about trading him.
However, as much as it’s difficult to put that kind of strain on the salary cap, Callahan is indispensable to the Rangers. He’s captain, among the top scorers, and an excellent defensive forward, the kind of player the Rangers love. If money weren’t an issue, there is no doubt that he’s a Ranger for life.
While it is currently impossible for the Rangers to give Callahan that deal, because they simply don’t have the cap room, they do have 2 compliance buyouts this coming off-season to attempt to make room for him. The Brad Richards contract is looking a bit like a dud, with his contract expiring in 2020, when he’s 40, and getting a cap hit of $6.667M per season. Richards will not be nearly as productive as Callahan for the next 6 years, with Richards 5 years the elder, and his play declining at times. If I had the choice, I would choose Callahan over Richards, without any second thoughts.
I know it’s not as simple as that, because the Rangers would still be paying Richards, should the scenario I proposed take life. But the Rangers shouldn’t be giving the notion of trading a staple of their franchise like Callahan any thought. He’s too valuable to the team in order to be traded. This is a grand pickle that GM Glen Sather has presented for him, and there is no easy solution. But the Rangers should do everything they can to keep Callahan.