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Lightning lock up Callahan to six-year, $34.8 million deal

Jun 25, 2014, 9:34 AM EDT

Ryan Callahan Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning were very happy with what former New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan brought to the table after they acquired him in the Martin St. Louis deal. GM Steve Yzerman consequently made re-signing him a priority and he succeeded in that goal by locking up the 29-year-old forward to a six-year deal.

The financial terms weren’t disclosed by the Lightning, but he’ll come with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and a partial no-trade clause, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

“I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the next six years and I am excited for this new chapter of my career,” Callahan said. “Tampa Bay has been a great place to live and play from the day I got there. As soon as the season ended I knew it was a place I wanted to be.”

Callahan had 17 goals, 36 points, 189 hits, and 60 blocked shots in 65 games in 2013-14. His blend of grit and skill as well as his leadership abilities make him a great asset, but that same body-sacrificing mentality also make this six-year deal a risk. When he was still a member of the Rangers, they were reportedly hesitant to give him a long-term deal, for fear that he might not be durable enough to stay effective through his mid-30s.

The Lightning used their final compliance buyout on Ryan Malone, freeing up $4.5 million in cap space for the 2014-15 campaign. That means the Lightning’s short-term cap situation is still healthy even after this signing.

  1. lowenni - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    The cap hit isn’t absolutely horrendous right now. The only problem I see is in a few years when Lightning youngsters like Johnson, Palat, Kucherov, and Drouin will all be seeking big raises. But for now, Callahan will bring a lot of leadership to this team and add a new element to it. Lightning are gonna be good for a long time.

    • jl9830 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      How much leadership? What has he ever won? Glad the Lightning paid $34.8M to a leader who has never won anything.

    • c9castine - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      rangers get to SCF the year he gets traded away.

      im not saying thats why, but its really hard to make a case for leadership when the rangers have had more talented teams in the past and as captain, he was unable to carry them to the point they got to when Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards took over leadership roles.

      double standards all over the place.

  2. xdj511 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    What??? So what was all that about with the Rangers a few months ago? A no movement clause? This whole thing stinks more now than it did then. Someday we’re going to find out more about what went on during those negotiations.

    • arrow43050 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Callahan was apparently trying to get 7 years @ $7m per year at first and wasn’t moving a whole lot from there. I think during the period his agent could talk to other teams he and his agent heard nothing but hysterical laughter at those numbers so took what he could get while the getting was good.

      • 950003cups - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        I think the NTC that Sather refused him was the icing on the cake. But I wouldn’t blame Sather for that. The NTC may as well stand for Never Too Complacent as players just play lazier and lazier as the season progresses. One thing that burned Lamoriello in nj was his handing of NTCs like m&ms as he watched his cap and players become fat cats

    • dohpey28 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      While people are saying he was offered more by the Rangers (6 for 36), while technically true, isn’t really the case as there being no state tax in Florida makes it worth more then the Ranger offer he turned down.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        it amazes me that most (fans) do not even consider this when players are taking contracts in those states. FL / TX.

        I am not sure what the tax bracket / % is when you are making millions and it depends on what state you are living in but I easily assume its near 35% ??? I am no tax pro, and clearly have no idea but that is a HUGE chunk of change!!!!!!!!!!

        If I had the option of playing hockey in FL – cough – Lightning right now, no doubt in my mind I would.

      • moarjam - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Over the life of the contract, Callahan will earn a little over $1m more in Tampa than in NY considering the state taxes.

        That’s a lot of money but I’d have to think he’s regretting his decision a little bit. He was the captain of one of the league’s most popular teams in one of the world’s best cities. And say what you want about the rangers/sather/dolan but they are known as a top notch organization in terms of how they treat players/alumni.

        That being said, TB is a great organization too with a bright future. He will thrive there.

        Nothing but the best to Cally. Great guy. All heart. All class.

  3. eagles512 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Too much $

  4. pone27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Not for nothing, but if this is what a guy like Callahan gets on the market, Paul Statsny is going to be one happy hockey player.

    This guy is not worth 5.8mil a year.

    • dswt25 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Glad he didn’t take the Rangers offer this spring…way to much money and too long a term. Good guy, good player, but not a good value at that price.

      • mactruck27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Everyone likes to focus on the fact that he only ever had one 50+ point season…but for 3 seasons leading up to this one, he either netted or was on pace to get 30 goals. This past year he was basically taken completely off the PP, so his pace dipped down. Yes he gets injured with the way he sacrifices his body, but he’s a good hockey player, with an underrated amount of skill, and worth every cent of that $5.8 mil/year.

      • lightning79 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        …And we’re glad we have your two 1st round picks for a guy who might play 1-2 more years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see next year’s NYR pick become a top 15

      • moarjam - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Top 15? haha ok. I guess anything can happen. You might not be surprised but most of the hockey world would surprised if NY didn’t make the playoffs.

        BTW we get your 2nd this year now that you’ve resigned Callahan. Soooo there’s that!

      • lightning79 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        @moarjam you get our 2nd rounder next season…

    • i1theinternet - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      first of all, this is not even what Callahan got “on the market”, he was not going to be a free agent until July 1st…nobody is! that said, the guy is a hockey player in the same mold as Dustin Brown: alright with the puck, but more importantly will block shots, throw his body around, and do the little things that set an example for his teammates about what it takes to win. he’s a coach’s dream. and what is Brown’s cap hit? $5.875 for 8 years. sure, Callahan hasn’t won a Cup…so i’d say that makes his deal @ $5.8 for 6 years just about exactly right.

      • jl9830 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Actually, other teams can talk to UFA’s today, so technically Callahan was on the market today.

    • beergold - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Phaneuf at 7 mill for 7 years and Kessel at 8 mill for 8 years, leading the Leafs nowhere but constant mediocrity,…now that is money poorly spent!

      This deal is for a guy that plays 200 feet of quality NHL calibre hockey and shows up every night. Great signing at a reasonable price and term!

  5. xdj511 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    I’m on app so I can’t respond directly, but I thought Callahan lowered his demands with the Rangers to pretty much… This! So why would he end up forcing his way out of NY only to sign with Tampa now and not even bothering to test the free agent market?

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      I like how you started your comment. Maybe we can shame nbc into making a better app that can reply directly. Maybe everyone that responds via the app can just put (APP.) to begin their comment? Of course, if there are so few people that use the app, it won’t accomplish anything.

  6. themagicfanguy - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Good deal if he can stay reasonably healthy.

  7. tampabayirish - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Happy for Callahan, Happy for the Lightning. If Callahan (and Stamkos and Bishop) can stay reasonably healthy, this team can go deep in the playoffs for the next 5 years.

  8. billiam55 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    i love cally, but thats a lil to much. and with the way he plays hes always getting injured as well. its annoying, i wish himn luck though and to the lightning. great leader, great guy. he’ll always be captain to me.

  9. rsl22 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Just taking a quick look at their roster, Tampa has a small group of forwards. Looks like only two guys over 6’0 now. Rangers only have 1 guy under 6’0, Bruins only have 2 guys under 6’0, same with Devils, Caps, and Leafs have zero players under 6’0.

    They may be skilled, but it could be tough to compete for a full season and then playoffs with such a small group of forwards.

    • vanindeed - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Montreal seems to do alright.

      • rsl22 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Montreal has 7 forwards over 6’0, not as small as they seem.

    • steve7921 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      one guy at 6’7″ made all the difference for TB last year!

    • lightning79 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Actually TB is in the top 10 in height/size. Have a look at their Dmen. 6’6″, 6’7″, 6’8″, 6’4″, 6’3″ and both goalies at 6’6″, and 6’7″. I’m not worried, Boston isn’t getting any younger.

      Also Rangers’ best player this year was a small-ish forward (Zuccarello), their biggest forward was one of the biggest disapointment in the NHL (Rick Nash). So size doesn’t matter…. ask your wife.

      • 19to77 - Jun 25, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Technically, Brian Boyle’s got a fair amount of size on Nash at 6’7 and 240+ pounds, but I’m not a believer in the “size = good” narrative anyway.

    • moarjam - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Well the rangers don’t have only one person under 6′. Off the top of my head-St. Louis, Zucarello and Hagelin are definitely under 6′. Dorsett and Stepan might been under too.

  10. phtjoey - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Sweet that they were able to sign the player for whom they traded for.

  11. bl475 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Haha. Wait. So which guy is under 6 foot, St Louis or Zuccarello? And the leafs, devils, and caps didn’t best the lightning this year, as the bolts actually made the playoffs, despite lots of freak injuries, like tendon damage to bishop and a broken leg. I’d wait to see a season in which freakish injuries aren’t such a major player.

    • rsl22 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      My bad. For some reason St. Louis wasn’t on the roster I pulled up.

      And yes, they did make the playoffs, but they also won the same number of playoff games as the Leafs, Devils and Caps.

    • pj608 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      The Lightening did suffer Freakish things this year but it is all part of the game. So did Chicago, Colorado and other teams as well…. Hate to burst your bubble but to be quite honest, I dont think they were making it much further into the play offs regardless. They MAY…. MAY have beat montreal if they were injury free but those two teams were easily the worst DEFENSIVE group in the play offs. Break away after break away. If that was fun to watch, you don’t know hockey. Other teams were lucky to get 1 breakaway a game. Those two teams Every play was an odd man rush or a break away. I was surprised Carey Price didn’t take it for a whirl and see what moves he could pull.

      • lightning79 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Anyone who calls the team “LIGHTENING” shouldn’t be allowed an oppinion.

  12. djshnooks - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Devils, Caps, Leafs have no players under 6 feet tall??? And how did that workout?

    Cally won’t make it past year 3 of his contract before he is sent packing again.

    • pj608 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      He will be fine. Because unlike players like a Brad Richards and anyone else who was bought out. He always plays hard and his recent injuries in NY… That wont happen in TBL because they wont expect him to lay on the ice blocking shots all game. If you actually watch Callahan he can score. You give him time and space the guy has hands and can dangle a bit. Now that hes playing on a team Like TBL he will shine a bit more than he did in NY. And no… I am not a fan of either team. I am a Devils fan. but i see you said something about the Caps. And expect great things from them under new coach Barry Trotz.

  13. bl475 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I just thought the concept of one of those two midgets being over 6ft was funny is all.
    Maybe they didnt win any games, yet not one of the other teams have any excuse like the best player trying to recover from a broken leg too quickly, or at all even, or losing a vezina caliber goalie to a tendon injury, Or a Calder candidate with broken ribs and a knee injury or whatever palat had. It was stacked against them pretty solid, so despite all that, they still made it, even With such a small lineup. What’s everyone else’s excuse? was the eastern conference too hard? I don’t think the Tampa bay lightning can be happy about the showing, but if any team has some excuses, you can even look to the captain dirtbagging them and forcing a trade as an addition to the list of tough spots they were in. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, the only team worth remembering is the team that was taken to 7 3 times, and nearly swept the healthy eastern team they got to face.

  14. pj608 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    I still think it was a good trade for both teams minus the Additional 1st round pick. Both teams got what they needed and Good for callahan and TBL. They need a Player like Callahan big time. He will do good things there and he may even score more goals then he was over in NY.

  15. blockedshotnyr - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    As a Rangers fan, I will always love Cally and appreciate the effort that he brought night in and night out. He was reportedly offered more money than this by the Rangers to stay and be the captain and yet, he turned it down because he got greedy. The Rangers went to a Stanley Cup Final while he sat home and watched. Sometimes, greed just does not pay.

    • mss627 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      Yeah but St.Louis will be gone in a year or two (he’s 38) plus the draft picks.

      • jnyfive - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        MSL didn’t seem slow at all during the playoff run, didn’t seem to run out of steam. He didn’t start his NHL career until after his teens so he doesn’t have as much wear and he is a training nut. I bet he plays another 3-4 years.

      • nyr4life9920nyr - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        What do you think your team is getting with the 28th pick?!!!!!!! Next year’s will be the 30th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. lightning79 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I’m fine with the first 3 years of the deal, he will help the young guys, but for the last 3 years, we’ll see.

  17. trolltoll11 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Good for you Captain Cally. Always will be a fan. Miss seeing you in the Broadway Blue but I think the trade worked out well for all parties involved.

    “Here’s to all that gorgeous snatch in FLA.”

  18. c9castine - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    still too much but what are you gonna do? good player brings a lot to the table but thats a healthy cap chunk.

    thing is there arent a ton of wingers with his qualities. many centers like him, not many who play the wing. if theres one reason why he just got paid about 1 mill too much per year, thats it.

  19. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    The Rangers gave up TWO first round draft picks and their Captain for a guy who is at the end of his career.


    • nyr4life9920nyr - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Those “TWO” first round draft picks your gloating over are the 28th pick this year and the 30th pick next year!!!!By the time they get to the 28th pick on Friday you will probably be in bed!!!!!!!!!! Right now its even money whose gonna retire first, ST LOUIE or brittle callahan!!!!!!!!!!!

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        LOL the Rangers aren’t going to get the playoff gifts of playing two teams without their starting goaltender next year. So the pick will be a nice mid ranged one for Tampa. Hell, they would have been swept in the Finals this year if not for the cherry slush machine that Madison Square Garden uses to maintain the ice.

        I’d be willing to bet that at this time next year, everyone will be able to say, “One Cup in Three Quarters of a Century!”

  20. xdj511 - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM


    Glen Sather has two words for you:

    Ryan effing McDonagh!

    • 19to77 - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      … who he didn’t trade for Martin St. Louis, thank God, otherwise that Callahan deal would have been even more of a slaughter by Yzerman. By the way, that was three words.

  21. mss627 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    We’ll miss you Cally but the price was about 9 mil too high. Good luck though.

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