The Ryan Callahan roller coaster keeps chugging along. And with it there are more twists and turns than a real roller coaster. On one hand Callahan (who has smartly decided to stop talking to the media about the current situation) is open about how he wants to stay with the New York Rangers. On the other hand, the Rangers have granted other teams permission to speak to Callahan's agent in order to work out a new contract before he would be dealt.
As it stands right now, Callahan is looking for a seven-year deal for around $6-million a year. The Rangers are apparently comfortable with the dollars, but they are not comfortable with the term. Which, again, is smart on their end, since Callahan's rough and tough style of play doesn't really lend itself to another seven years of his normal effectiveness.
So whether or not the Rangers allowing other teams to negotiate with him on a new deal is a really hardball tactic by Glen Sather, or the ever present back and forth that takes place in professional negotiations, we have to look at the situation as it stands right now. And that situation says Callahan might very well be traded.
As far as media reports go, only one team has contacted the New York Rangers about talking to Callahan for a new deal. We don't know who the team is, but we do know at least one team took the bait to talk to Callahan's camp. As per Larry Brooks, the Buffalo Sabres are more than willing to give Callahan the seven-year, $42-million he desires, but have not reached out to the Rangers as of yet.
And, of course, the Columbus Blue Jackets have entered the mix as a potential target for Callahan. These rumors (not confirmed to be anything more than just some rubbernecking to see if Callahan will be available) are without a doubt compounded by the Rangers' recent trade history with Columbus and John Davidson's (JD is the President of the Blue Jackets) presence at the Sam Rosen ceremony before the Rangers' 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday.
Look, during these situations people tend to hit the floor running with every little morsel of information. People hear something, see something and then just start firing off rumors like that All Star game slapshot skills competition. JD is at the Sam Rosen ceremony in person, so of course he's talking to Sather about Callahan. Sather has cemented two separate blockbuster deals with Columbus the past year, so it's obviously the Blue Jackets.
Not so fast. Remember that Columbus is now a divisional rival of the Rangers. More importantly, they're also a potential first round playoff matchup. If Sather was going to trade Callahan -- and of course there is an overwhelming possibility all this is just the two sides playing the game and both camps agree to a contract sooner rather than later -- he would probably want to keep him as far from the division as possible. And if Sather was going to move Callahan to the Blue Jackets, well, Columbus would have to give up names they're not comfortable with. Especially if Callahan signs a deal before he goes.
So before you all start worrying about the Rangers and Blue Jackets continuing their little trend of blockbuster, I-didn't-see-that-coming moves, take a deep breath. IF Callahan is traded then it PROBABLY won't be to Columbus. I capitalized those two words intentionally. Right now these rumors are nothing more than that, rumors. And while signs do point towards the Rangers and Callahan actually reaching a bridge they can't cross, let's burn it when we get there.
One more nugget, and I'll leave it as the last thing I say since I don't know what it will mean and I don't want to speculate: Glen Sather wants this figured out before the trade freeze due to the Olympics. That means there isn't much time. That might be a negotiating tactic as well, but remember time is on Callahan's side here, not the Rangers.
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