Monday, July 25, 2011

How Much Is Ryan Callahan Worth To the New York Rangers?

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The New York Rangers have had a tremendous offseason both in adding missing pieces to their organization and in retaining key pieces of the foundation to this point.  Ryan Callahan is the biggest piece to the puzzle remaining as the Rangers try to build a championship contender.  Coming off a career season offensively where he scored 23 goals and had 25 assists in just 60 games Callahan is primed to get a hefty contract from New York.  Since Brandon Dubinsky signed his four-year, $16.8 million contract last Thursday there has been the natural comparative discussion of what Dubinsky is going to make in relation to what Callahan should make. 

Comparing the relative value of Callahan and Dubinsky is not something that should be done because each are critical pieces to the Rangers in their own way and even more so as a combined unit.  Callahan is seen as the better leader and better all-around player while Dubinsky is viewed as more skilled of the two.  Projections on Callahan’s potential contract have factored in his breakout offensive season, the intangibles he brings to the club, along with the expectation of his being named captain and the combination seems to have taken the dollar figures out of hand. 

There is more after the jump on where the numbers are deemed to be and where maybe they should be.

The discussion has revolved around the notion that Dubinsky was just the ground floor for Callahan and he will assuredly make more in his deal.  Some have suggested that Callahan could be inked for as high as $5 million per season.  I love all that Ryan Callahan does for the New York Rangers, but paying him anywhere near that is out of hand and has the Rangers paying for intangibles plus the fact he will wear the ‘C’ instead of skill and production on the ice.

Yes, I am well aware, as I showed above, that Callahan had 23 goals, and 25 assists for 48 points in 60 games, which over an 82 game schedule would equate to 31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points.  The question is whether you believe that was what you can reasonably expect from Callahan offensively or if he returns back more in the realm of what he did offensively prior to last season.  Previously Callahan had failed to surpass 40 points in a season and had 53 goals and 43 assists in 224 career games.  Those numbers equate to a 35 point season, which certainly is not worth anything near where people are saying Callahan could end up being paid.  I am not saying that Callahan will revert back to his career numbers and basically be a 35-40 point guy, but the assumptions that he is going to now a consistent threat for 60+ points is a stretch for me and doesn’t jive with those who are having doubts about players like Brian Boyle being able to repeat there drastic improvements.  I expect his to have 50-55 points with approximately equal totals in goals and assists.

There is no denying the importance that Callahan has to the team in many facets of the game and that will likely see him get more money than skill or production would warrant, but to assume that he automatically should make more than Dubinsky or approach $5 million a season is a reach. 

Last week, George Ays of Blueshirt Banter, looked at Ryan Callahan’s worth statistically to see what he projects to be worth in the future.  Here’s an excerpt of what George’s analysis showed:
Assigning a dollar value to the data, the trend line says that Callahan will have a GVT of 34.39 over the next 4 years.  Using the same $367k per GVT rate we used for Dubinsky, that means that the 4 year contract for Callahan would be $12.62m, or a cap hit of $3.155m.  That's more than $1m less than Dubinsky, which seems out of line with public perception.  This is where the note below the graph comes in.  The comparison right now is not completely apples to apples. 

Dubinsky's $4.28m was based on the assumption that he will play 82 games every year, while Callahan's is based on his current rate of games played, which has not been close to 82.  We can adjust for that two ways.  First, we could compare Dubinsky's actual GVT year to year, which gives an estimate of $15.03m, or a cap hit of $3.75m.  The alternative is to use Callahan's last season 82 game GVT (10.6), and repeat it.  That would also give a cap hit of $3.75m. 
This post is not about denigrating what Callahan does because he epitomizes what the Rangers are trying to be, but seeing where he should actually fall in terms of price.  The price that has come to mind with Callahan for me has been somewhere around $3.8 million which would be in line with George’s calculations.  That is not to say Callahan won’t end up with the higher prices many seem to believe he will get, just that he might not be worth the higher end numbers being advanced.  The final outcome probably sees a splitting of the two perspectives and Callahan making approximately the same as Dubinsky give or take about five percent.  Both Callahan and Dubinsky are critical pieces to the Rangers current and future success and the sooner Callahan joins Dubinsky in having a long term contract for New York, the happier we will all be about it.  

What do you think Ryan Callahan should and will get paid in his new contract with the Rangers?