What do the New York Rangers do about pending unrestricted free agent Ryan Callahan?
On the one hand, he’s their captain. A classic heart-and-soul leader who scores goals, hits, and blocks shots. Based on that alone, they should lock him up as long as possible.
Except the poor guy just can’t stay healthy. His latest injury is an MCL sprain that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. Last season, he “separated his shoulder eight or nine times,” according to general manager Glen Sather.
And that’s not all. Far from it:
It almost seems unfair to hold the above against him. The way he plays (i.e. with little regard for his own health, putting the team first) is a major contributor to that lengthy injury log. But the list of ailments can’t be ignored either. A player is only good to a team when he’s healthy and able to play. Otherwise he’s a financial burden.
Callahan is 28 years old. The maximum term he could sign with the Rangers is eight years. Anywhere else it would be seven. And with the salary cap expected to go up, you can bet at least one team out there will make a serious run at him, if he doesn’t re-sign with New York first. (Nathan Horton had a pretty lengthy injury log. Didn’t stop Columbus from giving him $37.1 million over seven.)
“This is where I want to be, obviously,” Callahan said recently, per the New York Post. “But like I said, I’m not going to air it out in the media about my contract and what’s going on. Just go about my business on the ice, and that stuff takes care of itself.”