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Report: Callahan, Lightning close to signing long-term deal

Jun 25, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

Ryan Callahan is close to re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to a report from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

From Sportsnet:

The 29-year-old was eligible to pursue unrestricted free agency on July 1, but a source indicated that a new deal with the Lightning is “imminent.” While the precise terms of the extension weren’t immediately available, it is believed to be in excess of five years and worth as much as $5.5-million per season.

Scott Bartlett, one of Callahan’s agents, tweeted on Tuesday night that the sides had found “common ground towards a new deal.”

As per Johnston, and reports at the trade deadline, because Callahan will remain in Tampa Bay, the Rangers will now get a second-round pick back from the Lightning.

Callahan went to the Lightning at the March 5 trade deadline, in a blockbuster move that saw Martin St. Louis moved to the New York Rangers. The trade was facilitated because talks on a new deal between Callahan’s camp and the Rangers weren’t making much progress, and so the chips fell in a massive exchange of big-name players hours before the deadline.

Callahan scored six goals and 11 points in 20 regular season games with Tampa Bay, then went without a point in the playoffs, as the Lightning were swept out of the first round.

The Lightning made it clear right from about the start of April until now that they had interest in re-signing Callahan, who turned 29 years of age in March and was the subject of a PHT UFA of the Day feature earlier this month.

His play, even in a small sample, left a favorable impression on Tampa Bay’s head coach Jon Cooper: “I really, really hope Ryan considers us as a place he wants to spend the rest of his career … because as long as I’m coaching this team, I want Ryan Callahan on the bench. I don’t know how much stronger I can be about that.”

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