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A week ago, Brandon Dubinsky(notes) and the New York Rangers agreed to a 4-year deal on the morning of his scheduled arbitration hearing. Ryan Callahan(notes) was able to work out a new contract one day before he was set to potentially get the Shaone Morrisonn treatment.

The Rangers re-signed the 26-year old Callahan Wednesday to a 3-year, $12.825 million deal, locking up their last restricted free agent. USA Today's Kevin Allen reports that the deal breaks down to $4 million, $4 million and then $4.825 million in the third and final year.

As Larry Brooks of the New York Post pointed out earlier this week, Callahan could have hit unrestricted free agency next summer had the scheduled arbitration hearing took place on Thursday and his price on the open market would have been much richer than what he signed for today.

Three years does seem short for a heart-and-soul guy like Callahan who appears to be the favorite to replace Chris Drury(notes) as the next Rangers captain.  Callahan told Andrew Gross of The Record that he wanted a longer deal and that four- and five-year options were talked about, but his salary demand fit the Rangers' needs best at three years.

A fourth year on Callahan's deal would have meant he, Dubinsky and Marc Staal(notes) would all be unrestricted in the summer of 2016. Instead, Callahan, Dan Girardi(notes) and Henrik Lundqvist(notes) will all be UFAs in 2015. Talk about a challenge for GM Glen Sather to try and make those salaries work in whatever cap structure NHL teams will have after the next CBA negotiations.

Also, given Callahan's style of play and lack of a second thought to sacrifice his body, the Rangers were likely concerned about committing long-term. Callahan broke a hand in December and an ankle in April blocking shots causing him to miss 22 games this season.

Gross also reports that the deal does not feature a no-trade or no-movement clause, something that Callahan said was not of much concern to him given the short length of the contract.

The Rangers now have a group of players to build around for the next several years and some promising players coming up through their system. While Sather can still throw around money working with loose purse strings, he and the team's player personnel staff have smartened up from their free-spending ways of the late-'90s and given Rangers fans a chance for optimism over the next several years.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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