The ongoing saga between the New York Rangers and their captain Ryan Callahan is about it reach its conclusion one way or another. The two sides are “inching closer” to a contract agreement according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
It has been a bit of a roller coaster from when Callahan's initial contract demands were reported publicly. The veteran forward reportedly sought a seven-year deal, but has since lowered those demands. The Rangers reportedly don't want to go over $6 million annually, while Callahan is reportedly seeking around $6.25 to $6.5 million annually.
The fact is, that's a big contract for Callahan, even at $6 million per. He has topped 50 points once in his career and has had a history of injuries. What the Rangers are fighting is the fact that Callahan would get similar value to his demands as an unrestricted free agent in a weaker market and that he's often described as the “heart-and-soul leader” of the team.
That, and the Rangers are in the postseason hunt this year, making any decision to deal him all the more difficult. He is a valuable player and plays in a number of roles important to the team's success. Head coach Alain Vigneault has not-so-subtly been advocating for Callahan to return to the club.
It's been quite a dance between the two sides trying to drive the price, but it's almost over now.
Callahan is going to probably end up overpaid, whether it's by New York or someone in free agency. Sometimes that's just the way the market works. If the Rangers can keep their core together for the next few years, it might be worth it, but it does make it harder to build around without a significantly higher salary cap.