Pretty soon this blog may have to change its name from Eye on Hockey to Eye on Ryan Callahan. It seems the most-talked-about player as the Olympic trade freeze looms is the New York Rangers captain. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, this recent trade deadline saga could reach its conclusion before the Olympics.
Sources have told The Post general manager Glen Sather has established Friday's 3 p.m. pre-Olympic roster freeze, rather than the March 5 trade deadline, as the time of decision regarding Callahan's future. The Rangers want the situation resolved before the captain travels to Sochi, Russia, to play for Team USA and risks injury in The Games.
The Rangers have three different options, but in reality, it's probably only two. It seems as though keeping Callahan past the trade deadline and rolling the dice with trying to re-sign him after the trade deadline passes is not going to happen.
So the Rangers and Callahan can either come to an agreement on a contract extension or the team can trade him before Feb. 7.
Things are escalating quickly in terms of a possible deal. As previously reported by Darren Dreger of TSN, the Rangers had already granted at least one team permission to speak with Callahan's agent, Steve Bartlett. According to Brooks, it's multiple teams at this point.
A team that feels it can sign Callahan to a new deal is likely going to pay more than they would for renting the pending unrestricted free agent, so it's good business on the Rangers' end.
After the Rangers win over the New York Islanders Friday night, Callahan seemed surprised that other teams were given permission to talk to his agent.
“That's news to me,” he said. “My heart's here.”
Callahan has made it clear that he would like to remain a Ranger, but his reported request for a seven-year, $42 million contract is apparently prohibitive to Sather. Callahan's history of injuries and low production rate this season don't exactly make a good case for the 28-year-old who hasn't known another NHL organization in his career.
The fact that the Rangers have really turned their season around and are very much in the hunt to contend in the East makes the decision regarding Callahan anything but easy. He's well respected by teammates and head coach Alain Vigneault gave a vote of confidence to his captain.
“I'm a big fan of Ryan Callahan and I know he wants to be here,” Vigneault said. “Contracts have nothing to do with me and I am hoping that both parties can come to an agreement.”
Unless Callahan comes down in his asking price, though, it looks like he's on the move and it could be very soon.
It seems like a lot would have to happen for Callahan to remain with the Rangers, but one way or another, this could all be over in less than a week's time.