We started our countdown with Marian Gaborik, continued on to the center he was traded for in Derick Brassard, and now we settle into the 8th spot in the countdown with the first homegrown player to appear in the coutdown and the first captain.
#8: Ryan Callahan
Career as a Ranger: 2006-2013
Numbers as a Blueshirt over the decade: In 303 games: 98 goals, 97 assists for 195 points (1.94 Pts/60). 49.15 CF% (1.53 C/60), 51.69 xGF% (0.56 xG/60). 24.4 GAR, 4.4 WAR.
Best season as a Ranger: 2011-12: 29 goals, 25 assists for 54 points in 76 games
Ryan Callahan holds many firsts for our countdown; 1st homegrown player, 1st captain, and 1st player that began the decade on the Rangers to appear on our countdown. Callahan first came up to Broadway with Brandon Dubinsky in 2006 and by the turn of the decade the two had cemented their status as the beating heart of the New York Rangers. As John Tortorella took the reigns, Ryan Callahan became the staple of how he wanted his team to play. Every time he took to the ice, the Rochester-born winger’s legs never stopped moving, as Callahan threw caution to the wind in every zone up and down the ice while throwing himself into every puck and opposing body that tried to get in his way.
That’s not to say that Callahan didn’t contribute on the score sheet as he always found himself in advantageous positions in the offensive zone and was always around the opposing crease or goal line to poke in rebounds or to create space both on the power play and at even strength. Callahan was a staple for the Rangers throughout the decade and he was rewarded for his service to the team as he was named the 26th team captain in 2011, taking over from Chris Drury who seemingly groomed Callahan for the role while the two were teammates. It was just his teammates that recognized what the American winger meant to the team as Callahan was awarded the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award in back to back years (2011-12, 2012-13) his third and fourth times winning the fan voted honor.
Eventually though, time caught up to Callahan and as the Rangers were entering their true golden years the stalwart winger saw his production dip as injuries and play style began to take it’s toll. With his contract due to expire in the offseason, President and General Manager Glen Sather put together a huge trade deadline deal in 2013 to send the team’s captain south to Tampa Bay along with a package of 1st round picks in return for Martin St. Louis who had orchestrated and forced a trade out of Tampa. With St. Louis in the fold, the Rangers would go on to their 1st Stanley Cup Final appearance in 20 years, something that Callahan came oh so close to, only to fall just short in his time on Broadway. Callahan’s time in New York will always be remembered fondly not just for how he played the game but for the fact that he was homegrown and came up through the Rangers system to not just make to the NHL but to be named Captain and leave a tangible lasting legacy on the team.
Favorite Moment: There are a lot to choose from for Cally, but for me it’s easy. 4 goals, against the Flyers, and while wearing white jerseys at home!