Should the Rangers Re-Sign Callahan?
News broke today that Ryan Callahan is softening on his contract demands, the focus has now shifted from trading Cally, to re-signing him. As it stands now, Cally and the New York Rangers are still about 500,000 to 750,000 off on a 6 year contract. The belief from the experts is that both parties will meet in the middle and agree on a deal. While most fans would be happy with getting their captain back, I am here to tell you that signing Callahan to a 6 year 36 million dollar deal is a mistake, and that its time to move on.
How Does Callahan Fit?
There is no denying what Ryan Callahan brings to the table. He is a heart and soul; blood and guts guy, who blocks shots, hits everything that moves, and leaves it all on the ice. He excels on the penalty kill and is great on the forecheck. No one can question his determination or his work ethic, but where does he fit in this system?
As of right now, Ryan Callahan is playing with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin on what is technically the second line, but in reality is the third line. Through 45 games this season, Callahan, has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points, but only has five goals in is last 30 games dating back to November 23, 2013. The question remains, in a system that is based on puck control and skill where does he fit? There is no coincidence that guys like Zuccaerllo and Brassard excel in this system, they play a skill based game and fit the mold of what AV is looking for. Ryan Callahan’s power game sometimes contrasts what is being deployed.
The other big question is how long can he maintain this style of play? The simple fact is, Ryan Callahan is small and plays a big man’s style. We all love and praise the way Cally plays, but he only plays that way because he has to in order to be successful. The down fall to a physical grinding style is without a doubt a short shelf life. This year alone, Callahan has missed 17 games due to injury, and has never completed a full season. At 28, soon to be 29 years old, his health and style of play needs to be a legitimate concern over the course of this contract.
Salary Cap and Free Agents
The most glaring issue and the biggest concern to every NYR fan out there should be the salary cap, and the impending fate of the 11 free agents that the New York Rangers still need to take care of. Using Capgeek.com as a reference, if you look at the 2014/2015 salary/depth chart you can see what players are under contract, and how much of the cap they are using up. There are two scenarios to consider here:
Scenario 1: The Rangers buy out Brad Richards as expected and sign Ryan Callahan to six million dollars a year. In this situation you are left with only 12 roster players including JT Miller (6 forwards, 4 defensemen and 2 goalies). Those 12 players take up $47,790,000.00 of an expected cap of 71,000,000. That leaves you $23,310,000.00 to replace a top line center for Brad Richards. Paul Stastny’s name has been thrown around as a potential target for Glen Sather. Make no mistake about it, Stastny will command 7+millon a year. Not to mention they will need to resign, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, and Derrick Brassard, all of which have been huge parts of the offense. Decisions need to be made on whether they re-sign or upgrade Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Dominick Moore, and Danny Carcillo. Either way, it will still cost the Rangers more money.
Defensively, Anton Stralman has not only played on the second pair all season long, but has also been one of our most consistent players, and is in line for a sizable raise. John Moore Danny Kristo and Justin Falk all figure into the future of the team, but with them being RFA’s, will there be enough money to go around to them?
Scenario 2: The Rangers don’t buy out Brad Richards and resign Ryan Callahan. Right off the bat, people will want to shoot this down, but we have to remember, Its Glen Sather, and Jimmy Dolan. Money is merely an object to them. Last year many experts and insiders, all but guaranteed that Richards would be bought out, and many were surprised when he wasn’t. Now if Brad Richards isn’t bought out, and Cally is resigned at 6 mil a year, the Rangers are still faced with the same free agent questions. Now instead of replacing Richards with Stastny, we are potentially replacing Brassard with Stastny. Instead of 23 million to work with, the Rangers will only have $16,643,333.00 to make decisions and improve this team. If Stastny is going to get 7 million a year, that cap number is cut almost in half and you will have two, third line players making 12.5 million dollars a year, with a little bit over 8 million left to fill seven more roster sports.
The Harsh Reality
Simply put, If you as a Ranger fan with visions of winning a Stanley Cup anytime in the near future, then you need to realize that by signing Ryan Callahan, you hurt those chances. While Cally has played his heart out of this organization, the ends do not justify the means. In any decision you make in life, you need to measure the wants to the needs. In this situation what Callahan wants in a contract is not conducive to what the Rangers need in order to improve and capture that elusive Stanley Cup.
Ryan Callahan has had a great run in New York, but the sun is setting on this chapter, and like everything in life, all good things must come to an end. It is time for Ryan Callahan’s time as a Ranger to come to an end.