The New York Rangers traded captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for fellow captain Martin St. Louis after NY and the star could not come to a contract extension agreement and now he will move on to another team in the east.
According to ESPN.com, the deal came through a couple hours before the deadline and it came after the Rangers had hoped to sign the captain to an extension. The Callahan deal comes after the team signed Dan Girardi earlier last week and Henrik Lundqvist earlier in the season and now they will need a new captain. The Rangers were holding hard on the salary in the deal and Callahan wanted over $6 million, while the Rangers were unwilling to go that high. The two teams swapped out high priced captains and now Callahan could sign with the Lightning as a free agent, while St. Louis could last with the Rangers for the rest of his career, as he has a house in the area and wanted to only go to NY in a trade.
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The Ryan Callahan trade rumors are starting to heat up as the deadline gets closer and teams like the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks could be options, while many think a Martin St. Louis deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning is another potential avenue to explore and now they don't need to, as the deal with St. Louis went down.
The Rangers cap situation could get dicey depending on how this turns out, as the team signed Henrik Lundqvist to an extension earlier in the season and also have high priced players in Brad Richards and Rick Nash as well. Callahan has been the heart and soul for this team over the years, but he has not been his usual self this season and in 42 games he had 11 goals and 13 assists for just 24 points and he is not going to get paid what he wants if that becomes his usual scoring output. Callahan has had some great years for the Rangers, but now things may come down to just money.
The Rangers of course would rather not trade their captain and arguably one of their best players, but they might not have a choice. The team knows that Callahan is heading to free agency and they have been working to sign him to an extension, but the battle on both sides is about the length and value of that extension, as Callahan is looking for a six or seven year deal worth near $7 million per season, while the Rangers have offered a more modest deal at five years and a bit less money. Glen Sather now must decide what the chances are of signing Callahan back if he hits the open market and the risk of losing him for nothing, along with what he could get for him in a trade to at least get back some value.
The two sides are expected to speak at least one more time before the trading deadline next week, according to the NY Daily News, but if nothing gets done then, a deal for Callahan could be coming. Callahan should get some attention from playoff teams, but many may be leery of trading for a so called rental player, as he is looking to hit free agency and not sign an extension with a team if he is traded.