We're officially less than 24 hours away from Ryan Callahan's scheduled arbitration hearing, and as of right now it seems as though the two sides are still at an impasse.
Andrew Gross reported yesterday that no progress had been made by the two sides on a new deal. This is troubling, especially when many believe Callahan will be donned the next captain of the New York Rangers when the new season kicks off. According to some reports, the "C" might even be taken away from Callahan if the two sides can't agree on a deal and arbitration is needed.
I don't think anyone expected Callahan to get a contract the day after Brandon Dubinsky signed his shiny four-year $16.8 million pact, but few expected the two sides to go to arbitration. After all, the Dubinsky deal was supposed to make the Callahan negotiations easier.
The current negotiations, however, have been quiet. When Dubinsky was on the block there were reports (many of them conflicting, mind you) about what the hurdles were. As of right now, we don't know what's keeping the two sides from coming to an agreement. But again, this is not unusual. The Rangers generally play situations like these close to the vest.
This doesn't mean all hope is lost. Join me after the jump to find out why.
Like the Dubinsky situation, the ongoing negotiations don't seem likely to bear any fruit. But a lot of things can change over the course of 24 hours, and the two sides can easily come to an agreement before the arbitration hearing.
If, however, the two sides need arbitration, it would be worse than if the Rangers had gone to arbitration with Dubinsky. Dubinsky, who wasn't slated to become an unrestricted free agent for two more years, would have gotten a one-year deal from the hearing, keeping him a restricted free agent at the end of the deal.
Callahan, on the other hand, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next year. That means that an arbitration judge would give him a one-year contract, and then at the end of the year he would be an unrestricted free agent. You better believe that if Callahan hits the open market at 26-years-old, teams are going to be knocking down his door with long-term, big-money contracts. Guys like Callahan (who have 30-goal potential and do whatever it takes to win ... literally) don't stay unrestricted free agents for long. And, if the Rangers did want to re-sign him, his price would be significantly higher thanks to the open market inflation.
While a Dubinsky arbitration hearing would have been ominous, a Callahan arbitration hearing can spell disaster.
If the two sides do go to arbitration all hope isn't lost. The Rangers can freely re-negotiate an extension with Callahan after January, but with unrestricted free agency status looming in just a few months, he might want to hold out and see what the market offers. Especially if bad blood is raised during the hearing.
The best case scenario, obviously, is a long-term deal within the next 24 hours. But, as I said with the Dubinsky negotiations, it has to come at the right price for the Rangers as well. But Callahan as a UFA is a scary, scary thought.
As always, keep checking the Banter for updated news and analysis on this situation and all things Rangers.
Thoughts on this guys?