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UFA of the Day: Ryan Callahan

Jun 3, 2014, 9:33 AM EDT

Ryan Callahan Getty Images

Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Ryan Callahan

If Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has his way, Ryan Callahan will never reach the free agent market. The former New York Rangers captain was dealt to Tampa Bay on March 5 and his blend of grit and skill proved to be a nice fit in Tampa Bay. He had six goals and 11 points in 20 games after the trade, giving him 36 points in 65 contests overall in 2013-14.

The 29-year-old forward is typically good for over 40 points and 200 hits provided he stays relatively healthy. He’s only missed 26 contests over the last three campaigns with the majority of his time on the sidelines coming this season. However, the physical edge that he plays with and body-sacrificing mentality might lead to teams to worry about his long-term health, especially seeing as he’s likely to demand a long-term contract that will take him into his mid-30s.

Which brings us to the heart of the problem with Callahan: His asking price. Even after lowering it, Callahan was reportedly seeking a six-year deal worth $6.5 million to $6.75 million annually in early March.

It was his contract demands that likely motivated the Rangers to trade him in the first place and it might similarly keep Tampa Bay from re-signing him.

Perhaps Callahan will take a different approach with Tampa Bay, but his agent, Steve Bartlett, has already said that it would be tempting to wait to see what the market’s like on July 1.

Keep in mind that while his demands might seem high, teams have shown a willingness to pay big for capable two-way forwards. After all, David Clarkson is getting ready for the second season of his seven-year, $36.75 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  1. buddysguys - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM


    • thomasvanek - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      There is a very good chance he ends up in Buffalo

      • rednuthatch - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Why is that?
        Not being snarky, just curious.

      • buddysguys - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Pegula will pay, from Rochester Area, Pegula will pay….those were my only reasons for saying Buffalo.

      • thomasvanek - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        @rednuthatch He is from Rochester and the Sabres need to sign people to hit the cap floor.

    • skr213 - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Not sure what people are thinking giving this a thumbs down. As pointed out myriad times and places previously, he’s a western NY local (raised in nearby Rochester) and Buffalo has already shown that they’re willing to overpay for mediocre players. Buffalo definitely has the best odds in this race.

  2. lsxphotog - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    There is something big to consider with the Callahan signing. The cap is going up. This means that player values naturally go up. So a player once worth $4.5-million is possibly “worth” $5- or $5.5-million. This is Ryan right there. He’s also looking for a bump in his pay because it’s that time of an NHL player’s career where they push their worth as far as they can to cash in…there’s really only once or twice that a player can do this, so I don’t really blame them too much. But Cally is potentially asking for $6.5-million? No thanks. I would say that $6-mill is really pushing it for him.

    If Tampa can get him signed for under $6-million, they’re making out very well. If they go over that number, then they’re not doing well. That being said, they could use a player like him on the roster, so it’s clear they are going to make a push for him. It’s not too often you get the chance to sign a Ryan Callahan. He will certainly test the waters of free agency, so who knows what other more poorly run teams will offer him…and we’ll see if he really wants to play for a Cup contender team or just make money. Tampa will progressively improve over the next few years and probably stay in the Playoff chase.

    • smarterthantheauthor - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      The cap isn’t rising as much as you think. With the devaluation of the Canadian $$, the cap isn’t going to max out as much as the owners had hoped.

      The Lightning have some RFA’s to tie up and a couple UFA’s to tie up as well.
      The Bolts need to get him to under $4.5 mill to make this work or they run the risk of repeating the Ryan Malone mistake.

      I think the Bolts should tread very carefully here and see what appears on July 1st.
      Lot’s of teams that will be retooling their lineups for their bad playoff runs (Pittsburgh, Anaheim, San Jose, Philly) or lackluster seasons (Washington) – there could be some real good value available there that would cost a lot less than what Cally is asking.

      TBL is on the rise. A young talented team who just needs another player or two and throwing too much green at Cally could sink all that.

      • flyboystransport - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Cap is going to go up a lot because even though Canadian dollar has dropped the TV station that bought the rights to televise the games was ridiculous. ….i think it was more than ed snider (Comcast cbs) paid for the U.S. rights. The estimated cap is likely gonna be $71 to $73 million. Callahan isn’t worth more than 5.5 a year.

  3. pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    I like callahan and think he is a great 2 way player but I would go 4-5 yrs at 4-4.5mil. I think he is better than David Clarkson but you cant compare really since the maple leafs are a joke and gave him way too much

    • dueman - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      Well, the Wings paid $5 million for Weiss’s 2 goals, so you shouldn’t be saying too much either….

      • pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        and yet we still made the playoffs… AGAIN.. how did your leafs do bhahahaha

      • dueman - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Congratulations….you got to see your team get smoked in the first round, and you won a lower place in the draft. I’m jealous….

  4. sharksfan97 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    36 points not matter how much grit and character you have should get you tops 4 mil at 4 years. But hey, I’m just a reasonable person.

  5. johnstone17 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    A 27 – 28 year old with the body of a 35 year old. A ton of heart & character, but I can’t justify the money he asked the Rangers for, along with a no trade.

  6. nyeagles10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    He is over pricing himself. For the Rangers ( who loved him ) to trade him speaks volumes.

    • MichS - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      I wouldn’t mind him back on the Rangers for 4mil a year.

  7. justinpecora50 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I agree, he’s a heart and soul player and leaves it on the ice, you have to love what he does on the special teams, but he’s still a 3rd liner who’s injury prone and probably would have been a Ranger if he didn’t demand a no trade. Florida might be a good fit, they were dead last in both PP and PK. They have space, but will they spend any of it?

    • pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      I dont think Florida could offer him enough money for him to go there. besides money, winning might be a concern since he doesnt have a cup yet and call me crazy but he prolly wants to play for more than 8,000 fans like in Florida when they put up curtains for 60% of the stadium

      • justinpecora50 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        I would’ve said that a few years ago, but after the way the he handled the Ranger negotiations… He could’ve had $30 mil and they were just a player or two from making a deep run, all he had to do was wave the no trade. So I’m not convinced it was about winning, but he a tough player and somebody will pick him up.

  8. petersteelewannabe - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    He could probably get close to the $ he wants, but not in TB. He has to decide-big bucks/long term with a team not likely to compete for the Cup for a while (Florida, Buffalo, Edmonton Calgary etc) or get closer to $5M and be on a competitive team. As a Flyers fan, I sure am glad Holmgren isn’t out there making the calls anymore…or Cally’d get everything he wants plus a NTC as well. (don’t get wrong, I love the way he plays, but the money/years are out of line)

  9. nj666 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    I wouldn’t mind him in NJ. He probably already has a home in the area, and he would give him a chance to stick it to his old team.

  10. mgp1219 - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Can you say overrated??

  11. areaman714 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I travel from So Cal often to New York and I try to see the Rangers play when I am there. Just about every game I watched, Cally was the best player on the ice. However, I think his aforementioned style of play (very physical) coupled with his moderate scoring output puts him in the 5 mil, 4 year range. He would be an insane 2 center for a team like the Hawks, Ducks, Blues, Kings . . .

  12. blueshirtsfaithful - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    nj666 – HAHAHAHA cally going to dirty jersey that’s SOOOO FUNNY!!!! Don’t worry I got the dumbass joke

  13. steelcity333 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Would love him in a Penguins uniform. Won’t happen though. Wants too much money for what he is actually worth.

  14. djshnooks - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Because Steve Bartlett is from Pittsford, NY, an hour east of Buffalo…and he knows Cally can make much more there.

    I don’t see this happening though for Buffalo, he is too old in age now. (29 is not old, but for a rebuilding team it sure is.)

  15. nyrnashty - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I hope no one pays more than 22.5 million over 5 years on this shot blocker, he does have some decent wheels though for the next few years.

  16. punksinplay - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    If the Devils gave Ryan Clowe 25 mil for 5 years what the heck do they think Ryan Callahan is worth? I expect the Devils to go hard after Cally and Cally will sign.

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