Ryan Callahan’s arbitration hearing is Thursday and thus far
there has been no indication that the Rangers are close to re-signing the
That may not mean a whole lot though, because everyone was convinced
the Blueshirts would be unable to avoid arbitration with Brandon Dubinsky last
week before the left wing agreed
to a four-year, $16.8 million deal on the morning of his hearing.
Callahan is expected to earn between $4.5 million and $5.2
million when all is said and done, but the Rangers would be wise to lock him up
in advance of his arbitration hearing. That’s
because if Callahan gets a one-year deal as a result of arbitration, he’d be eligible
for unrestricted free agency next summer, a possibility the Rangers would like
Though Dubinsky has consistently out-produced Callahan over
the last four seasons, Callahan would have easily outscored Dubinsky last year
if not for injuries. Callahan’s value to
the team is far greater than Dubinsky’s and it’s Callahan that makes Dubinsky a
better player. Though a subjective claim
like that can’t be presented as evidence at arbitration, it’s a fact the
Rangers are well aware of and they will have to pay Callahan more than Dubinsky
as a result. Budget constraints are
always a factor, but Callahan is New York’s heart and soul and in the end, he
will be rewarded as such.
We’ll have to wait and see if Callahan signs before
Thursday, but there’s little doubt the Rangers’ brass is working overtime to
get a deal done.
In today’s NY Post Larry Brooks reports that if Callahan signs a one-year deal, it could prevent the
Blueshirts from offering him the captaincy. Brooks reasons that the Rangers wouldn’t want to bestow the “C” on a
player that the team could lose next summer and would choose John
Tortorella-favorite Brad Richards to be the captain instead. Of course, Brooks has been willing to report
tidbits from both sides of the fence in the past, so it’s possible that the
Rangers floated this captaincy rumor to pressure Callahan into a deal.
The Rangers would surely prefer to ink Callahan long-term
before giving him the captaincy, but the right wing should still be the captain
even if he signs a one-year deal. Like
with Dubinsky, both sides of these negotiations want a resolution and New York
would be silly to strip Callahan of an honor that he’s probably expecting with
unrestricted free agency looming ahead. There’s
no reason to antagonize Callahan so if the Blueshirts aren’t able to sign him
long-term they would be wise to play nice with Callahan to avoid a potential messy
breakup next summer.
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