Rangers captain Ryan Callahan separated his shoulder “eight or nine times” last season, according to general manager Glen Sather,
The solution, not surprisingly, was surgery in May to repair a torn labrum. (Ditto for Callahan’s jitterbugging teammate, Carl Hagelin.)
Per NHL.com, it’s unlikely Callahan will be 100 percent by the time training camp starts. Or even possibly before the season starts.
“As the schedule goes, it’s going to dip into training camp and it’s possible it could dip into the regular season, too,” Callahan said. “The biggest thing with this is the contact. I should be able to be fully skating and shooting in training camp, but it’s when you can take contact and I don’t think you know that until you get further on and they evaluate it and check it out. As of now, how the rehab is going, I’m right on schedule.”
In a related story, the injuries to Callahan and Hagelin could have an effect on the team’s negotiations with restricted free agent Derek Stepan.
There is no progress regarding talks with Derek Stepan, sources report. Stepan, the club’s first-line center, is a Group II free agent without arbitration rights. Absent pressure points (or an unexpected offer sheet), negotiations with Stepan could well go into September and perhaps bleed into training camp.
The Rangers will likely need to carry 15 forwards on their opening roster because of the post-labrum surgery rehab that will sideline both Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin for the first few weeks of the year — but not for enough time to qualify for long-term exemption — and the need to have a healthy spare available on the opening trip.
With 24 players under contract, the Rangers have around $2 million in cap space, according to CapGeek,
As we noted in the post about Mats Zuccarello agreeing to a one-year deal, if Stepan signs a so-called “bridge” contract, the Rangers should be fine. If it’s a longer-term deal with a higher cap hit, a roster adjustment — even if it’s just a minor one — may be required.