Callahan shakes off trade talk: ‘My heart’s here’


Despite all the distractions, Ryan Callahan played well for the New York Rangers in their 4-1 win against the New York Islanders on Friday. After the win, he made it clear that he’s as engaged in his (current?) team as ever.

He doesn’t seem particularly engaged with the latest rumors, either.

“My heart’s here,” Callahan said, according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.

The Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports that Callahan, 28, said he wasn’t aware that the Rangers granted various teams permission to speak with his agent about a hypothetical contract.

In the meantime, Callahan’s teammates and coach have provided effusive praise. Alain Vigneault called himself a big fan of the Rangers captain and hopes an extension can be reached. Marc Staal and others rave about his leadership.

Still, the Rangers face a challenge to retain that obviously popular player, especially if his reported asking price is accurate.

However Callahan or his teammates feel about the situation, it could be a rollercoaster until the Olympic break (and possibly the real trade deadline after that).

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.