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Report: ’99 percent’ chance Rangers will trade Callahan

Feb 26, 2014, 9:36 AM EDT

callahan Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that the New York Rangers would trade captain Ryan Callahan while they’re still battling for a playoff spot and even after they lost leading scorer Mats Zuccarello, but that seems to be the likely outcome at this point.

In fact, the chances of Callahan being dealt are up to “99 percent,” according to TSN’s Darren Dreger’s source.

Callahan is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and is reportedly seeking between $45.5 million and $49 million over seven years. Consequently, talks have stalled between the Rangers and the 28-year-old forward.

Certainly the Rangers’ situation doesn’t typically lend itself to the seller role, but they might not be looking for prospects or picks in the first place. They reportedly tried to use Callahan as a bargaining chip to pry Martin St. Louis away from Tampa Bay and while that was a non-starter for GM Steve Yzerman, it does provide some potential insight into the type of deal the Rangers are interested in making.

It’s also worth noting that the St. Louis Blues have been mentioned as a possible destination for Callahan.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are still in talks with another potential free agent, defenseman Dan Girardi. The Rangers might end up trading him as well if those contract negotiations don’t lead to a resolution in the near future.

  1. bcsteele - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Please don’t come to St. Louis with those demands. Though given the work he’s done so far I’d say there’s a “99 percent” chance Armstrong wont give you your deal. That said, I don’t see Armstrong giving that much up for a rental either.

    • c9castine - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      99 percent chance nobody is going to give him that deal.

      actually, 96.7%. the 3.3 percent represents Paul Holmgren.

      • skr213 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        He’s next in line for Buffalo’s overpayment system. They just didn’t get enough with that Errorhoff deal.

      • c9castine - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        relax it was one guy 3 years ago. not even the same people running the team.

        that was a ridiculous contract though.

      • sjsharks86 - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Don’t forget to take another 3.3 off for Dave Nonis, the Leafs like to overpay almost as much as the Flyers

      • skr213 - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        c9castine: I agree, but the parallel for what Callahan is asking for (way too long a term at too high a price) just strikes me as too similar to ignore – particularly given that I’d bet good money that’s where he ends up next season (regardless of where he plays the remainder of this season). Sabres are already trying to make room for him and he’s expressed that he’d love to go there (having grown up in Rochester).

  2. savior72 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Blues don’t need him and the big contract he’s wanting. I could see him landing in some place like Detroit.

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      Pay this guy more than Zetterberg?


      At .53PPG he’s simply not a $7M player. Fact is that’s a lower PPG than Franzen, who a lot of Detroit fans want to ship out. Cally’s PPG is far lower than Zetterberg (.95) who also plays with extreme determination.

    • rbbbaron - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Det? You must be only thinking in terms of his style of play, because you surely can’t be thinking about realistic scenarios. Det is up against the cap and the only way they can make room for him is to send some of their bloat the other way (yes, Zetterberg going on the LTIR will open up some room temporarily, but what happens when he returns?). So unless NYR management likes the look of a Weiss or some form of Samuelsson/Tootoo/Bertuzzi combo and those players actually waive their NTC/NMC to go to NYR, there’s practically no chance of Callahan finding his way to Det this season.
      And probably not next season either considering the good crop of young forwards who are finally being given more responsibility– Tatar will be due for a significant raise, Sheahan to a lesser extent, whether deserving or not it wouldn’t surprise me to see Holland give Cleary another deal…DeKeyser will command more money, Alfie’s bonus counts against next year’s cap while Datsyuk’s and Ericsson’s cap hits jump up next year: all told that would leave roughly 10m in cap space with 13 forwards already on the roster (not including guys like Glendening and Eaves that Holland/Babcock like as depth) and the Wings will need a top-four blueliner to replace Quincey (that won’t come cheap) and a backup goalie (thankfully Mrazek is signed thur next season for a minimum). Bottom line: unless Callahan is willing to take something like what he was just offered in NYR, he’s not going to Det.

  3. xdj511 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Despite the utter certainty of an “unnamed source” saying there is “up to a 99% chance that the Rangers will trade Callahan,” I still expect him to be a Ranger next Thursday.

    I hope I can come back to this post five minutes after the deadline passed and say “I told you so.”

    • rpiotr01 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Wait more than 5 minutes. Deal may have happened and not been made public yet.

      I mean, if the Rangers think they have a legit shot at a cup this year, then it makes no sense to trade him unless they get a great offer for him. If they just want to trade him for a rental, he’s not the type of player who can command an actual difference making rental. I’d rather have Cally on the PK blocking shots in the playoffs and doing dirty work in front of the net and in the corners than a 3rd tier ‘scorer’, which is the best they can do in all liklihood.

      • xdj511 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        I know, I wrote that and said to myself… really it should be more like an hour because deals keep trickling out for a while.

        You’re right on the money… the Rangers are in contention for a cup… you do not trade your captain. They will not get back anything useful for a rental player right now. It makes no sense.

        I think this 99% nonsense was leaked by Sather in order to try to scare Cally’s agent into accepting a more reasonable extension now.

      • jkay1818 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        rpi, callahan hasn’t played much on the PK this season. I think their mentality is, if they arent going to sign him, you can’t let him walk for nothing, even if it’s draft picks.

        Most nights this season callahan has been invisible. the nash line has been on fire and the brassard line has been excellent. I think they will be fine either way. They have a lot of PK guys, their PK is top ten without callahan seeing a lot of mins in that role this yr.
        As you can see, Nash is capable as well, he was on the top PK unit for canada during the olympics.

      • elrock7 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        That’s funny, Rangers in contention for cup!! hahaha

    • stakex - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Not going to happen unless Callahan’s contract demands go down. He has too much value, and the Rangers simply can’t let him walk away without getting something in return. If he was their top player and a Cup run was a certainty, perhaps the situation would be different…. but he’s not.

  4. runhigh24 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    $6.5 to 7 million per year is a lot for a 40 something point forward. But with the cap going up and with the contracts handed out last year (Clarkson) players are going to keep rolling the dice on July 1 in hopes of hitting the big payday until the market corrects itself.

  5. jkay1818 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    As a rangers fan, season ticket holder, i will preface by saying, i love callahan. Seems like a great guy on and off the ice. In other die hards i speak with, out of 8 or so, only one would love to keep callahan. At a reasonable price, would i want him back? Absolutely. But, they need to focus their attention on girardi.

    I see tons of callahan articles and the PPG argument always comes up. That’s a great stat, but there is a lot more to his game than that. As most of you saw in the olympics, he blocks shots no matter who is winding up, he throws his body around (small frame too) and on top of all of his intangibles, puts the puck in the net.

    The harsh reality is, there is a salary cap. The rangers are going to use their amnesty on Richards which means they can’t on callahan when he hits his mid 30’s or even late 30s. He is 5’10 and plays like he’s 6’3 but he can’t play this bruising style forever and even in his 20’s is guaranteed to miss games every yr. That is only going to increase as he ages. What will diminish is his goal scoring ability. That will drop to the teens. He was never a playmaker which those guys still produce as they age. A lot of fans need to use their head instead of their hearts. I love callahan, but he is going to handcuff this team for the next 6-7 yrs making all that money. He’s an excllent player because he brings a lot to the table, but he isn’t built for a long term deal. His agent needs to shut his mouth too. Do they really need to pay a guy 6.5-7mm a yr at 34 missing 35 games and scoring 13 goals?

    • xdj511 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM


      I appreciate what you’re saying but I have to counter your argument somewhat. First, to clarify, the buyout provision was only through this season, so there would be no hope of buying out Cally sometime down the road.

      Whether Cally ends up signing with the Rangers or not, they are just not going to get the kind of return they are looking for in order to justify trading him this week. They are either going to get another rental player in return or a marginal prospect and mid-round draft pick. I would much rather see this team make another run at the cup, because too many core players are passing their prime, and a serious retooling might be needed before they can contend again. At this point I think he plays out the season and leaves as a free agent, to Buffalo or whoever will pay him what he wants.

      • thecheeman - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        You are right that there are no buyouts down the road but leagues will always make new rules on the fly to allow the marquee teams in big markets with big money to escape their worst decisions.

        Very easy to see the Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Canadiens all lobbying for one more buyout in 2017 or something.

      • jkay1818 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        @ xdj511,
        that’s exactly what i said, they have no shot of buying out callahan, so when he really stops performing and misses even more time than he does now, they don’t have the luxury of buying him out.

      • stakex - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Despite all the “Keep him to make a cup run” arguments…. Callahan has never been a playoff game breaker. Moving him will have little impact on the Rangers playoff chances, and depending on who they get in return, might actually help them.

        Also, most of the Rangers core players are far from “passing their prime”. In fact, only three guys on the team are currently 30 or over…. Richards, Lundqvist, and Dominic Moore. If the team were to stay together, they have plenty of time to win a Cup.

        Not to mention the idea that all the Rangers will get is a marginal prospect and a mid-round draft pick for Callahan is laughable on its face. They probably won’t get a top tier goal scorer, but its certainly not out of the question that the Rangers could get a top six forward in return for a sought after player like Callahan. I would also expect the trade won’t be 1 for 1…. the Rangers can always sweeten the pot to increase the return.

    • rpiotr01 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      I wonder if Callahan and his agent really think they’re going to get that kind of scratch on the open market. As you say, it’s a salary cap league now, teams can’t afford to make too many big mistakes and 7 years at $6.5+ can be a disaster if given to a guy who never scored 30 goals in a season and likely never will.

  6. LampyB - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Why would you see Callahan going to detroit? You dont seem to understand how the motor city works. Detroit does not give up picks or youth for rentals EVER, and we have a ton of forwards theres not a chance we give him that amount of money.

    You didnt provide a single reason this would happen…

    • timmmah10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      That guy still thinks it’s 1999 and the Wings are buying players…lol

      It’s going to be hard to find someone to swallow that cap number for a barely above average player.. My money is on him not being moved because they won’t be able to find a suitor.

  7. kastout11 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    In the past couple of years, I could see Holmgren and the Flyers trying to pry him away from the Rangers with a blockbuster trade, but currently the Flyers have a number of young talented forwards that the organization is very high on. I would love to see Calahan in the orange and black, but not at the expense of a few of the young forwards that at times show a lot of promise. However, I would not be surprised to see the Flyers make a run at Girardi if the Rangers do not sign him. Defensemen are a lot harder to come by than forwards. I see Calahan as a Ranger for the foreseable future.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      If they try to trade Girardi the price tag would be absolutely massive given the market and needs. Could easily command a young solidified NHLer, a top prospect, and a 1st/2nd rounder.

    • stakex - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      I highly doubt the Rangers would trade either one to a division rival….

  8. crazemastercraze - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    This may be the most sane move Sather has ever made.

  9. 7mantel - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    As much as I would hate to lose Calahan it’s a business deal for both party’s ! Don’t blame him for asking for the moon going into free agency ,who wouldn’t ?The worse thing that could happen for him is he comes out making the the same money or close to what the NYR will offer .

  10. grocerystick101 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Scoring goals makes money in this league. The reason guys like Rick Nash make over $7 mil is that there are only a handful of players in the world who can do what they do. Callahan brings so many intangibles and other assets that don’t show up on the stat sheet, but at the end of the day he’s also a lot easier to replace.

  11. flash8910 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    There is NOT a 99% that a team will want him. Unless they are giving him away for next to nothing, there is no guarantee. I am not sure any team wants to pay him what he is asking so he is a rental until his demands change.

  12. savior72 - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I’m not going to pretend to be a GM like some people like to do, but the fact is Zetterberg is out and Detroit is fighting for a playoff spot. That equals desperate moves no matter what team you root for. I remember the blues getting Greztky for 3 so-so players and a draft pick. It can happen.

    • 7mantel - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Your correct about anything could happen ! I remember ordering Ranger jersey’s for my girls with Ridley and Miller thinking that they would never get traded.Well NYR fans know how that worked out !

  13. DED - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    While the situations are different, the Rangers lost Dubinsky, Prust, Fedotenko, and Anisimov in one off-season because management was looking for more scoring. And then the next year the team struggled on defense because they were missing the intangibles these guys brought to the ice.

    So now it’s Callahan turn. He’s accused of not bringing enough of the tangibles; letting grit, leadership, and defensive acumen be swept aside. Who fills the vacuum after the Rangers let him go?

    I don’t know that they’ll win the Cup this year with him, but I know that they won’t win it this year without him. Don’t trade him. Work things out (or not, since he’s asking for a lot) over the summer. Stop thinking like a business for once and recognize what a deal like this will do to the team’s morale. Trading the Captain in the middle of the season is just suicide.

  14. jkay1818 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    DED, are you sure you’re a rangers fan? you couldnt be more wrong. Dubinsky although fans liked him was making way too much, in their run a few years back tortorella relegated anisimov to the fourth line, fedotenko was/is at the downside of his career and Prust was sorely missed, yes, but the habs threw a TON of money at him. Don’t know how this relates to your argument. My opinion isn’t the end all be all and i even mention callahan’s grit, but see my post above about this. he would do this team more harm than good for years to come.

    Where did the team struggle on D last yr? it was the same shot blocking tortorella style that got him eventually fired. The defense was basically the same last yr without those guys while they still boasted a top ten PP. Guess what? callahan hasnt been killing penalties for the most part this yr and they are still top ten. Their downfall on d was early on learning a new system while lundqvist was atrocious. Nothing to do with callahan. The team plays D, they rid themselves of liabilities like del zotto and they are scoring more goals this yr while enjoying a top tier PP. Again that callahan barely plays on.
    No one is bashing callahan, i love him, but his demands are absurd and his agent is making it worse. He would cripple this team cap wise while his play will diminish and not warrant that money.

    • DED - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      jkay, we may disagree here but my Rangers fandom is without question. And I wouldn’t question someone else’s, but maybe that’s just me.

      I didn’t say that Callahan’s reported demands weren’t “absurd”. I think they are. However, I think the team shouldn’t trade him in the midst of the season as it will foul up the team’s chemistry. Let him walk after the season has played out.

  15. bufffalojoe - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Welcome to Buffalo!

  16. flyboystransport - Feb 26, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Moulson for Callahan would work

    • flash8910 - Feb 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Only if the trade is loaded with picks going Buffalo’s way.

  17. bluesdroogie - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    I would take Callahan in a trade for Stewart. Even if he is just a rental, the Blues lose dead weight and a non physical player. Sure Stewart will fight occasionally and get on a 2 week tear a year but that is it. St Louis needs to lose Stewart to free up space for other players next year so even if Callahan is just a rental I would do it to help us in the playoffs (a time of the season Stewart has been a complete non factor)

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