Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rangers Re-Sign Ryan Callahan To Three-Year Deal

Update: Why Three Years Is Ideal Length For Callahan, Rangers

Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News tweets that Ryan Callahan and the New York Rangers have officially agreed to a new contract and avoided tomorrow's pending arbitration hearing.  Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet tweets that the deal is believed to be for three-years, $13 million.  Those numbers are more reasonable than some that have been thrown around over the last few days and makes the Rangers cap hit manageable down the road.

Update: Kevin Allen of USA Today tweets that the breakdown of Ryan Callahan's new contract goes for $4M, $4M, $4.875M over the three years.

Callahan was the last in a slew of restricted free agent deals for the Blueshirts, but he is clearly amongst the most critical, both on the ice and in the dressing room.  Now New York has the main ingredients to their roster all under contract and will let training camp decide how the roster shakes out into a lineup for the 2011-12 season.

Last season Callahan continued to play his relentless style of hitting and blocking shots while being an invaluable member of the team in terms of penalty killing, power play goals and presence in the locker room.  What was different last year was the offense that Callahan brought to the table.  Despite playing in only 60 games he was able to set career highs with 23 goals, 25 assists and 48 points for New York.  The added offense was critical for the Rangers as the combination of Dubinsky, Anisimov and Callahan was the best line for the team during much of the season.  The Rangers will need that line to continue their growth as well as the production that is expected from Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik if they are going to contend for a championship.

Gaborik Still Ranked Amongst Elite Right Wings, Challenge For Rocket Richard?

In ranking the top 25 right wings for next season over at Puck Daddy, Sam McCraig had Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers come in at the sixth spot.  Interesting to see Gaborik ranked so highly at his position despite last year’s down season, but it shows how respected his talent is around the league and the belief that last year was clearly an aberration.  Here is what McCraig had to say about the Slovakian sniper:
6. Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers: If this Brad Richards thing works out — and if he can stay healthy — there's no reason Gaborik can't challenge for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal-scorer.
All Rangers fans hope that both of those things McCraig is basing his projection on do work out.  There is no reason not to expect at least 40 goals from Gaborik with 50 a distinct possibility if he has both health and chemistry with Richards.  Getting up into the upper 40's or 50+ would certainly put Gaborik in the running for the Rocket Richard next season.

Ryan Callahan was listed as an honorable mention on the list, though he probably should have squeezed in ahead of a Erat and maybe Jagr at this stage of his career.

Looking at the list more generally though it is tough based off of 2010-11 to rank Gaborik, along with others, ahead of Martin St. Louis who continues to not only defy age, but get better with it.  The player that got slighted the most, other than St. Louis is Claude Giroux as he should probably be no worse than #8.  Grabner not being only an honorable mention is a mistake as well, but overall the list has the right guys in generally the right areas.

Time To Be Nervous About Callahan Yet?

The fact that Brandon Dubinsky got within hours of having his arbitration hearing did not surprise most who follow the New York Rangers.  That Ryan Callahan is now only a day from a hearing without a new contract is a different story.  Maybe that speaks to what the assumptions are with Dubinsky and Callahan as much as anything else, but many assumed Callahan would be done well in advance of tomorrow’s hearing.  The time for panic and hysteria is not here yet, but the time to be anxious and nervous certainly has arrived.
Andrew Gross of Rangers Rants reported last night that there is little progress between the Rangers and Callahan’s side on a new deal.
“They have our proposal,” Bartlett said. “If they feel, at some point between now and then (Thursday), if they feel there is something to talk about, I’m all ears.”
Bartlett added he still believes a deal can be worked out but “it takes two to tango.”
Those are certainly not encouraging words with just one day left until an arbitration hearing that would see Callahan get a one-year deal and potentially be an unrestricted free agent next summer.  If it is the Rangers that are holding things up here, as the statements from Bartlett allege, then is it safe to assume they don’t believe Callahan is worth what his agent is asking for in the long-term deal?  Is the organization really willing to take their potential captain to arbitration?
I have been critical of the dollar figures thrown around in relation to Callahan and whether he is worth those amounts, but I do want him signed long-term.  The Rangers should not let themselves be “held-up,” but Bartlett is right that both sides have to be at the table in order to find common ground and hammer out a deal.  Hopefully it all gets done today and the nervousness that is in the air right now about Callahan never reaches the panic and hysteria phase that will arrive tomorrow.  For now, the anxiety is definitely justified.