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Callahan Arbitration Hearing Approaches

Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan’s arbitration hearing is Thursday and thus far there has been no indication that the Rangers are close to re-signing the 26-year-old.

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 to avoid.

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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Posted by Kevin Baumer | July 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

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