Ryan Callahan is a good hockey player. That’s why it was tough for the New York Rangers organization and their fans when “Captain Cally” was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, GM Steve Yzerman is hoping that Callahan will resign with the Bolts and help them make another run to the playoffs.
The only issue, which the Rangers ran into, is money. Callahan, per his last counter offer to the team, wants around $6 million a year, a price the Rangers weren’t willing to pay. However, the real question isn’t what the Rangers were willing to pay their former captain, it’s what will the Lightning be willing to pay for him.
There are however a few things that need to be taken into consideration where it concerns a contract with Callahan. The first is injury, as Callahan has only come close to playing a full season one time in 2008-2009 at 81 games. Right now that leaves one year out of his six as a full time NHLer with only 1 season as a full season and the next closest was 77 games in 2009-2010.
Yzerman has to look at his injury history and how he plays as Callahan could end up similar to a Ryan Malone situation—a lot of money for a guy who is steadily declining and then is a cap hit taking up a roster spot without production.
The other thing is the price and term. Callahan is going to want his next contract to take care of him for a good while. Yzerman has to this into consideration, does he really want to tie up a roster spot with an expensive, aging winger when his farm system has a bunch of forwards and Al Murray, Director of Amateur Scouting, has already proven they can find gold through the draft.
As mentioned before, Callahan wanted $6.5 million, and he doesn’t score many goals compared to someone like Steven Stamkos, who is getting $8 million with a $7.5 million AAV. Meaning, that Callahan wanted more money than the Lightning paid Martin St. Louis $5.625 million and St. Louis, although older, was a key part of the Lightning’s offense during most of the 5-year deal he signed with Yzerman. St. Louis also has a history of not being as injured as Callahan.
Now there are some reasons why the Lightning should and can resign Ryan Callahan, whom Coach Jon Cooper expressed publicly he wants back. The first reason being the aforementioned way Callahan plays. The Lightning have playmakers who can score pretty goals but they don’t really have the forwards able to dig the puck out of the boards and into the middle of the ice for a scoring chance—Callahan does this and does it well. Along with his ability along the boards, Callahan is a good defensive player and has had some voter consideration for the Selke trophy a few times. The Lightning could always use a defensive-minded forward to help, especially with a relatively young goalie tandem and Callahan would be able to do that along with being a good presence in the locker room.
Steve Yzerman, since the trade, has expressed interest in bringing Callahan for some of these reasons but ultimately it will not be at the expense of the team as Yzerman has shown that he will not put the team’s future in jeopardy for the sake of signing or keeping a good player.