Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lock In The Core: Time For Dubinsky, Callahan Extensions to Be Done

Photo by avigerver
There have been numerous discussions around the web about the New York Rangers summer plans and who they should keep, go get and get rid of and at the top of everyone’s priority list from the current squad is locking up Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan.  What we are seeing around the league is a concerted effort by teams to lock in their players long before they hit either the RFA or UFA markets as was seen again just last night with LA locking up Johnson.  The Rangers need to follow this trend and get the Dubinsky and Callahan deals done now to lock in two of the most important pieces to the core of this franchise.  I know the urgency for some is not dire, but what the Rangers should be looking to do is make a statement on the importance of these guys to the team’s future and also ensuring that we do not end up with any more protracted summers with contract discussions.
With the season that Brandon Dubinsky is having the price is certainly going to be more than one would have anticipated coming into the year, but then again if he continues at the pace he is on right now it is only going to continue to increase as he has been the clear cut MVP of the Rangers in their surprising team performance through 43 games.  On the year Dubinsky now has a line of 16-20-36 which ranks him tied for 22nd in goals and tied for 26th in points across the league.  Combine the improvements in his offensive production, consistency, and increased leadership within with his ever present work on the boards, and killing penalties and what you have is an indispensible part of the fabric of your organization.  If I had to take a guess at some numbers I would look for 5-6 years with somewhere between 3.7-4.3 mil per season.
In Ryan Callahan you have a guy who for years has been a fan favorite for his relentless play on the ice and his willingness to hit literally anything that moves.  It is that kind of attitude with Callahan that had him rewarded with the assistant captain position.  The point of contention between Rangers fans was about what the offensive upside of Callahan would end up being and if based on what his previous production had been how much the defense, penalty killing, hitting and leadership were worth financially.  Over the course of the past few seasons Callahan had shown himself to be a consistent 20 goal 40 point type player who skill wise was probably best suited for a third line role but was forced higher in the Rangers lineup due to a lack of overall skill.  Before breaking his hand blocking a shot against the Pens Cally was showing those beliefs about his upside offensively were in need of a change.  Before breaking his hand on December 15, 2010 the 25-year-old winger had a line of 10-13-23 in 32 games this season.  If you project that over an 82 game season that is a very respectable 59 point season which combined with everything else he does makes him invaluable to a hockey club.  In terms of numbers for Callahan since the top end skill is still less than Dubinsky I expect the contract to be as well with numbers around 5/16 feeling right.
What the Rangers have here are two young forwards who are the fabric of their young core offensively who are proving to be tremendous leaders and two way hockey players and need to be locked up as a part of this organization accordingly.  The organization talks about the young core and here you have two huge pieces of it who are set to have contracts expire this summer, make the statement you believe in what they have shown in the team’s remarkable first half and lock them down now so you can sit back and reap the rewards later.  
I doubt anyone will disagree with bringing them back so tell me if you think it can wait until the summer and/or what money you think they will/should get.