The NY Post reported, at the time when talks between the Rangers and their captain broke off, that New York offered a six-year, $36-million deal to Callahan.
The contract he just signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning? It’s for six years and $34.8 million.
So, in theory, Callahan could have made more money and remained a Ranger. (While Marty St. Louis would still be somewhere in a St. Pete Hooters, throwing darts at Steve Yzerman’s picture.)
Ah, but here’s the rub: The Lightning gave Callahan four years of a no-trade clause and then two more of a partial no-trade clause.
(Also a rub: No income tax in Florida.)
Callahan was headed to UFA status, so the Lightning got aggressive and re-signed him. The signing means the New York Rangers get a second-rounder from Tampa and send them a seventh rounder in 2015 back to the Lightning.
Is $5.8 million annually for Callahan a good deal?
Here’s what you get from Ryan Callahan: a 29-year-old forward who brings a tenacious game at both ends, throwing his body around and blocking shots. He has a net presence at 5-on-5 and on the power play, and scored three of his six goals for Tampa on the man advantage. His leadership credentials are unquestioned; and a Tampa Bay team that will have its share of youngin’s can use that.
But he’s also going to play around 65 of your 82 games per season, if that, because of his style of play. Bones will break, bruises will run deep. It’s just how it is. That’s a concern when you’re signing Callahan to a six-year deal. That’s also a concern when you’re committing $5.8 million annually to him.
Still, the reasons why this might be a mistake have been laid out already. It seems theLightning are comfortable signing a 29-year old fringe top-6 winger already declining to a long-term extension that will take upwards of 7.5% of a 70 million dollar cap in spite of the many red flags suggesting doing so is not the best course of action.
I like Callahan. He’s a positive possession player and someone you win with and not despite of. The money for this kind of forward is going to make some bristle, but he’s an essential ingredient for a winning team. And Tampa’s on the cusp.