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Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks

Dec 11, 2013, 2:19 PM EDT

ryancallahangetty Getty Images

What do the New York Rangers do about pending unrestricted free agent Ryan Callahan?

On the one hand, he’s their captain. A classic heart-and-soul leader who scores goals, hits, and blocks shots. Based on that alone, they should lock him up as long as possible.

Except the poor guy just can’t stay healthy. His latest injury is an MCL sprain that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. Last season, he “separated his shoulder eight or nine times,” according to general manager Glen Sather.

And that’s not all. Far from it:


It almost seems unfair to hold the above against him. The way he plays (i.e. with little regard for his own health, putting the team first) is a major contributor to that lengthy injury log. But the list of ailments can’t be ignored either. A player is only good to a team when he’s healthy and able to play. Otherwise he’s a financial burden.

Callahan is 28 years old. The maximum term he could sign with the Rangers is eight years. Anywhere else it would be seven. And with the salary cap expected to go up, you can bet at least one team out there will make a serious run at him, if he doesn’t re-sign with New York first. (Nathan Horton had a pretty lengthy injury log. Didn’t stop Columbus from giving him $37.1 million over seven.)

“This is where I want to be, obviously,” Callahan said recently, per the New York Post. “But like I said, I’m not going to air it out in the media about my contract and what’s going on. Just go about my business on the ice, and that stuff takes care of itself.”

Related: With Lundqvist deal done, Sather faces tough questions

  1. sjsharks66 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I am hoping the Sharks can dumb Havlat soon and make a move fot Callahan. He plays with heart and there is no denying it. He does not get injured from freak accidents. Every injury is from playing hard and helping his team win.

  2. hockeykrishna - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    As a Bruins fan, I’d love to see him out of NY, but realistically, this is a guy that not only plays the game right, he gives that great effort every night, and is essential to a strong and cohesive room. Hard to believe Slats would even think about letting him pack……

    About 20 other teams would grab him quickly. Toronto for example could get rid of Phaneuf and his poor defensive decision makingi (at key moments of the game) and sign RC.

  3. xdj511 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Thanks for the click-bait, but no matter how bad Cally’s injury history is, I can’t imagine that Slats is going to play hardball with him this summer. He’s going to get a market value deal for however long he wants it to be, and if he ends up injured for most of it, well, that’s what insurance is for.

    • geejon - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      What good does the insurance do for the team when he’s eating $5 mil of the cap and there’s a hole in the lineup every so often because he’s out cuz he’s too small and light for his body to handle the way his heart and guts tell him to? If he’s always banged up at 28, what’s gonna happen when he’s 30 after his body’s had a couple hundred more checks given/received. His body will NOT hold up. He’s small.

      If he gets some silly deal it will only continue the mediocrity this team is drowning in. This team is desperate for legitimate goal scorers and guys with SIZE who actually use that size. If they just keep resigning every average player they have, nothing will ever change.

  4. LampyB - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    He’a going to re-sign with the rangers. No way he leaves new york.

  5. moarjam - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I love Callahan but if he wants an 8 year deal for over $5m per he can pack his bags.

    • geejon - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      I agree. This team needs to spend that cap money on DIFFERENCE MAKERS.

      The whole team is backwards. Their biggest hitter (Callahan) is too little to handle that type of play on a consistent basis. Their “skill” guys (Hagelin/Zucc et al) are really all average in terms of offensive output, and their bigger guys both up front and in the back (Boyle/Girardi et al) never use that size. Nobody excels at anything on this team.

      It’s a whole squad full of average players …. not terrible at anything but don’t do anything great either. What a surprise that they’re a .500 team.

    • 950003cups - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      Callahan will get $5 million for 7 years. No doubt at all. The FA market is very profitable. Just ask Zach Parise and David Clarkson.

      If you don’t think Columbus is gonna be in on that deal, you’re CRAZY!! If the Rangers even hint at that “he gets injured too much” thing, then he’s as good as gone. I would trade him at the deadline if I can’t sign him beforehand.

      If he hits FA… ADIOS!!!!!!!!

      • 950003cups - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        also, just look at what NJ gave Clowe. That’s just a tad under 5 million and his injuries are severe.

  6. bleedrangerblue - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Relax everyone. Callahans a Ranger and will always be a Ranger.

    • 19to77 - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      You know, unless the salary cap has something to say about it.

  7. stakex - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I still think the Rangers should trade Callahan this year rather than re-sign him.

    There is no doubt how tough a player he is, and how hard he works. There is however questions about his actual skill level, and the Rangers are in desperate need of skill players right now. Given how often he is injured and the abysmal contract he is likely to get one way or the other next season, the Rangers would be better served trading him in an effort to bring in some more skill (and more importantly, new blood).

  8. heynyc61 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Tough decision. I love him but he is way to injury prone .. I want him to remain a ranger but not at a crazy price

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