Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rumor: Callahan, Rangers "A Ways Apart" On New Contract

With the unrestricted free agent market already thin and seemingly thinning by the moment, many teams will likely look towards the restricted free agent market this summer.  Some will be looking for talent to push their team into contention for a title while others might just be looking to find players that help them get the salary cap floor.

In examining potential RFA targets, Craig Custance of the Sporting News, spoke with Steve Bartlett, the agent for Rangers forward Ryan Callahan.  Bartlett sees more activity happening on the RFA market this summer and then he discussed the contract talks with the Rangers to this point on Callahan.
“The Rangers and Callahan have had ongoing contract negotiations that Bartlett described as friendly and “somewhat productive.” But there’s a gap. “We’re still a ways apart. I don’t think anything is going to happen over the next few days. We’ll see what July 1 brings in terms of what the marketplace holds for him,” Bartlett said.”
There is no need to panic about this type of news at this stage.  The fact that there is a gap between what the two sides think Callahan is worth does not mean he is leaving.  That the talks are friendly and having productivity is a good sign for the final outcome of negotiations.  He is widely presumed to be the next captain of the team and is the epitome of the identity that coach John Tortorella wants this team to have.  However, I do believe there is a salary level that Callahan could receive an offer sheet that the Rangers would allow him to walk away for the compensation.  Those who believe that the Rangers have to match Callahan at any level are overvaluing what he brings though I suspect anything at $4.5 million or lower would be matched.

The fact that these types of scenarios always seem to be possible for the Rangers is another frustrating thing about the way Glen Sather handles contracts.  In the unrestricted market he is more than willing to vastly overpay players from other teams to come here, but with his own players he gets tough and has these situations linger on.  There is no reason the Rangers could not have had at least a couple of the five restricted free agents already have their next contract done before July 1.