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‘There’s always the temptation of July 1,’ says Callahan’s agent

May 15, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT

Ryan Callahan Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning have made it clear they want to re-sign Ryan Callahan, and Callahan has said he’s enjoyed his time with the Bolts.

But will any of that outweigh the potential of free agency?

“There’s always the temptation of July 1st,” Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told the Tampa Tribune. “You don’t get that many times in your career, especially at the peak of your career.

“Those are what you have to balance, the positive and all the good things he knows about Tampa, and what is his right, you have the opportunity to at least hear other people. That doesn’t mean Tampa wouldn’t be his first choice.”

Callahan, 29, should have a number of suitors if he does go to July 1. A Rochester native, he’s already been linked to a potential hometown return to Buffalo, and it’s possible a team with the requisite salary cap space could make a splash and pay Callahan the reported $45.5-$49 million he was seeking on a new deal.

Don’t forget that, despite the fact he’s not an offensive superstar, Callahan does carry some clout. He’s a two-time U.S. Olympian and captained one of the NHL’s most storied franchises (his predecessors in New York? Chris Drury, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch.)

He also brings a physical, two-way game to the table — Callahan finished fourth in Selke voting in 2012 — and that’s a far cry from some of the other big-name forwards projected to be available this summer, like Marian Gaborik, Thomas Vanek and Mike Cammalleri.

And, hey, let’s be real… few players pass up a crack at having teams bid for their services. We saw it last year with the likes of Valtteri Filppula, David Clarkson and Ryane Clowe, all of whom cashed in during free agency.

In light of this, it’s no surprise Bartlett can’t rule out his client going to market — even though both he and Callahan seem to like Tampa Bay.

“I have no doubt that (a lot) of teams will have interest in Ryan Callahan,” Bartlett said. “But, at the same time,  I can say Tampa made a very good case for itself.”

  1. pl4tinum514 - May 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Douchey move.

    • moarjam - May 15, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I know right?

      How dare he take advantage of his UFA status and see what his market value is?! What a monster! Damn Capitalism!

    • billiam55 - May 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      not at all. he was traded to tampa. wants to see what else is out there.

  2. xdj511 - May 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    No way Cally made outrageous contract demands and got himself traded out of NY to end up taking Tampa’s offer and not hitting the open market. Of course he waits until at least July 1 to see what’s out there.

    • pfhockey - May 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      Actually, I’d rather let him go into the market if I were SY. I’d take two 1st rounders rather than a 1st and potentially regretful signing. Cally is an effective player and can have plenty of impact but not worth 6.5 mil a year.

  3. killerpgh - May 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Did they end up putting time before the actual signing day were team could talk to potential UFA’s in the CBA? I know there was talk during the lockout of letting teams talk to potential UFA’s 3 or 4 days before July 1st and they weren’t going to do it last year because the season end late because of the lockout.

  4. jkay1818 - May 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    I was tired of him and his agent prior to the olympics, i got really tired of fans wishing they had callahan instead of st louis because Marty wasn’t scoring four points a night, now seeing how respected st louis is and the NYR being 4 wins away from playing for the cup seeing an article like this is REALLY tiring.
    Rangers wouldn’t have made it this far with callahan. They are still killing penalties without him, they still block a ton of shots and still although undersized play physical. Callahan also stinks in the playoffs for his career. I think this run by the Rangers and his agents greed, as well as his team getting swept in round 1 has knocked him down a few pegs. It’s great to have heart and soul guys, but as you can see the beat goes on. A lot of nights callahan was invisible. With a player of st louis’ caliber, he is always creating and has the potential to make something happen. I was a callahan fan, grit is good and being a heart and soul, but as you can see. Their heart and soul starts from in between the posts with hank. This team has a lot more depth than the ECF team from 2 years ago. Game one of the playoffs a girl waiting online at the concession stands was whining about the trade and i told her she won’t be complaining when st louis heats up.

  5. sunking1 - May 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Translation: Callahan becomes a UFA on July 1. If Tampa makes the best offer of all the teams he talks to, he will sign with Tampa. If they don’t, he won’t.

    • peepeehead - May 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      I don’t think Tampa will need to make him the “best” offer to keep him. There are a lot of good reasons to stay in Tampa besides money alone.

  6. hanrahan5535 - May 15, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Get him in Pittsburgh, they could use some heart in that locker room

  7. billiam55 - May 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    ha. of course hes gonna test free agency. he was TRADED to tampa. its not like he wanted to go there. besides, hes trying to see how much other teams will give him. he still thinks hes a 6 million dollar player

  8. pjblake2redwings - May 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    If I was him I would stay in Tampa to be able to play on a team that will be legit contenders for years to come with the best scorer/playmaker in Stamkos and soo many young future all stars like Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson and lets not forget about the #2 overall pick last year Jonathan Drouin who is going to make a huge splash.. Tampa is going to be one scary team once they get their goaltending figured out. Stevie Y knows what he doing down there.

  9. punksinplay - May 15, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    All I know is he thought he was untradable. The sticking point for the Rangers wasn’t the money so much as the no-trade clause he and his agent were insisting on. There were a lot of broken hearts in NYC when the trade was made and although it took a while for the fans to warm up to MSL I think most fans know that the Rangers would not have made it this far without him. The Garden was rocking with the chants of “Marty” during game 6. Callahan is almost a forgotten man at the Garden now. He and his agent overestimated his value to the Rangers. They didn’t even give Lundqvist a no-trade clause. What made Callahan think he deserved one is beyond me. Let him stay in Tampa or go to Buffalo. No one in NYC cares anymore.

    • killerpgh - May 15, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      Accord to cap geek Lundqvist has a NMC with his new contract.

      • punksinplay - May 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Yes, you’re right Killer. My bad. Callahan didn’t deserve one though.

      • way2slic - May 15, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        Callahan could have had a NMC with a friendlier dollar amount. He was reportedly asking for $7 million for 7 years. The last reported offer from the Rangers was I believe 6 years for $6 million and he was still asking for like 6.3 or 6.4. They thought they could get the dollars worked out and that’s when they threw in the NMC and the Rangers balked at it.

  10. 19to77 - May 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Hopefully Tampa’s not naive enough to get into a bidding war and overpay to keep him. Since the Rangers made the conference finals, they owe Tampa their next two 1st round picks instead of a 1st and a 2nd. Tampa got enough for Marty as is. No need to tie themselves to a lengthy, overpriced contract with Callahan.

    • peepeehead - May 16, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      You nailed it!

  11. DED - May 15, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Plus, IIRC, Tampa gets the Rangers’ 1st round pick because they made the ECF. Of course, it’ll be low, but it’s still a 1st round pick.

    I’m a Callahan fan but I don’t see him getting the money he asked for, even at the end when he showed signs of being desperate to take what the Rangers were willing to give. Does Tampa have the bankroll or desire to sign him for anything close to what he wants? Does he head up to Buffalo to lead the re-build of that franchise?

    When I hear his agent publicly talk about this now, in the midst of the playoffs, I don’t know. Just doesn’t sit right with me, but the business of hockey must carry on.

    • maalea - May 15, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      Why shouldn’t his agent talk now? Tampa’s been out for 3 weeks. This is when business gets done.

  12. packerswin96 - May 15, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    not sure why Tampa would even think of signing him? Did nothing for them, especially in the playoffs.

    • moarjam - May 15, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      because he’s a good player?

  13. barkar942 - May 15, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Buffalo, here he comes.

    • hosewater2 - May 15, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Just what I was thinking, this has Buffalo written all over it.

  14. peepeehead - May 16, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    With Jonathan Drouin likely coming up next year and the other young talent in the organization I hope Callahan does go to free agency. He is a good player but not worth the money he wanted from the Rangers.

  15. tross16 - May 16, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Hes obviously going to look at the market

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