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Extension talks continue between Callahan, Lightning

Jun 20, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

The clock is ticking for the Tampa Bay Lightning to sign Ryan Callahan to a contract extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Even so, GM Steve Yzerman seemed optimistic about that prospect, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“We still have some time,” Yzerman said. “We’d really like to keep Ryan in the organization, and we’re going to continue to work. I’d like to get a deal done before he reaches free agency.”

Yzerman said he’s had some “really good discussions” with the versatile 29-year-old.

There are some interesting competing forces at play here for Yzerman.

On one hand, he might feel some added pressure to ink Callahan because he was a key piece in the Martin St. Louis trade, even though the Lightning also netted two first-round picks for their trouble.

There are some significant risks to signing Callahan, however … particularly long-term.

  • The Lightning are bursting with an array of up-and-coming young talent, especially at that forward position. The likes of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin are affordable now, but if Callahan wants a longer deal, second or third contracts could present added challenges down the line.
  • It’s reasonable to wonder if Callahan would be worth a steep price in Tampa Bay. His do-everything, shot-blocking style worked well when John Tortorella was running the Rangers ship, but his 2013-14 season didn’t go well. Injuries certainly factored in, yet he went pointless in the playoffs and only managed 36 points in 65 games between the Rangers and Lightning. Those aren’t unacceptable numbers, yet they don’t exactly scream “big, long-term investment,” either.
  • Speaking of injuries, players approaching their thirties tend to be more injury-prone to begin with, but those risks only increase with guys who put their bodies on the line like Callahan does.

Ultimately, it would likely come down to finding the right compromise, which might be difficult in a small window of time (Yzerman’s optimism notwithstanding).

In seemingly even less likely Lightning re-signing news, the Tampa Bay Times also reports that Yzerman said that Anders Lindback is “in the mix” to get a new deal. That’s a bit surprising considering the fact that the big goalie’s been a flop in Tampa Bay – especially in being swept by the Montreal Canadiens – yet the Lightning gave up a significant set of assets to nab him via a trade, too.

  1. lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    Sounds like the Lightning are really willing to pay top dollar to keep him around. I know Jon Cooper stated that he really wants to keep Cally in Tampa, and I think he’d be a good fit. I gotta say I lost some respect for Callahan this season with his contract demands and borderline greediness, but at the same time I understand that that’s the way professional sports are these days and with his injuries and him being in the prime of his career this may be his last chance to get a serious, serious payday. He’d be a good fit in Tampa to replace some of the leadership lost with St. Louis, bring some grit too. If he stays I think they could be contending next season, if they add a blueliner.

    • desertfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      # years at $5m as a short term leader/mentor to Stamkos and the rest of the younger guys.

      • desertfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        Sorry meant 3 years

  2. bleedrangerblue - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Wishful thinking. Not a contender. Look at your goalie. Hurt all the time. C’mon dude smell the coffee. I’m not even bringing up the rest of the lineup….

    • lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      First of I’m not a Bolts fan–but yes, let’s start with the goalie. I assume you mean Bishop, the one who’s up for the Vezina this season. There’s also one of the best goaltending prospects in the world in Vasilevsky and then there’s Gudlevskis who helped Latvia nearly beat Canada in the Olympics. So there’s that. Then yes, let’s get on with the rest of the lineup. Steven Stamkos, one of the top two goal scorers in the world. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, the first two teammates to be nominated for the Calder since Toews and Kane (who turned out to be alright players). There’s also Nikita Kucherov who shows extremely tantalizing talent. Oh…Jonathan Drouin is a prospect as well. On defense Victor Hedman just scored a fantastic 55 points and while it admittedly needs some patching up (like I mentioned), there are promising prospects on the way as well such as Slater Koekkek. Future is damn bright in Tampa, hell of a lot more prospects then you have up in the Rangers system.

      • shaundre93 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:24 AM

        Hey, you forgot that scrub Filppula. You know, that guy that’s only good at like… Everything. Except maybe hitting. And that Killorn guys pretty meh too. Not like he excels in all three zones.This team is a couple D men away from being a perennial contender. Anyone who’s not prepared for Tampa to take over the NHL should brace themselves… Lightning is coming

      • pfhockey - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:25 AM

        :D

      • lordfletcher - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        damn, that was a reply of all replies.

        someone won the internet today

      • adamal17 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Did you drop the mic after that comment? Lordfletcher got it right; you win the internet today. Same with Shaundre. I am a Wings fan and when we let Fil go I was happy because I thought he was another product of the Wings system. Boy was I wrong. With the Wings and Lightning having the best two prospect (for the past two years) things look good for the WIngs and the WIngs of the south. Stevie Y has definitely put hat team back on the map with the help from Stamkos and (this year) Bishop.

  3. jb8588 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Don’t count out Brett Connolly either as far as guys in the youth movement. He has been a slow developer but his game had really developed a lot the last couple seasons in the AHL…if he’s given a chance to play top six minutes I can see him being just as effective as Johnson, Killorn & Palat.

  4. bluesdroogie - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    St Louis needs to sign Callahan. American line of Callahan Backes and Oshie would be awesome. Come to St Louis Callahan. He would fit in perfect. Tough shot blocker, hard hitter, okay. we have money and we need more offense. Could not be worse than paying stewart over 4 million for basically nothing. Glad they traded him but we should have gotten more than what we did. That Miller trade screwed the Blues over. Overpaid big time

    • lightning79 - Jun 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      If he signs for upwards of 5.5M, you can have him! to be honest he can be easily replaced by any free agent for less than Callahan wants…. We already have 1 Malone, and TB might want to look at the Clarkson contract in Toronto before giving this guy more than he deserves…

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