By re-signing Henrik Lundqvist, the New York Rangers answered their biggest free agent question coming into this season, but they still have two more important players to re-sign … or trade. Tuesday’s TSN Insider Trading segment indicates that a lot can change in the next few weeks for both Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.
In fact, Bob McKenzie reports that one or both could be traded if they don’t re-sign them by the trade deadline.
In particular, Darren Dreger reports that Rangers GM Glen Sather is “gauging interest” regarding Callahan’s value by reaching out to an unspecified number of general managers. The team appears more confident about their chances of retaining Girardi’s services, according to Dreger.
Term could be the biggest sticking point
It may come down to the Rangers balking at the two unrestricted free agents’ asking prices. Bob McKenzie reports that both are looking for long-term deals. Girardi is reportedly seeking a six or seven-year deal in the Jay Bouwmeester range ($5.4 million) while Callahan wants a seven-year pact worth $6 million per season.
Callahan will be 29 and Girardi will be 30 in the first year of their next deals, so term could be the largest sticking point, especially for two players who tend to block a lot of shots and throw their bodies around.
Speaking of such roles, there’s also the possibility that current head coach Alain Vigneault simply doesn’t hold them in the same regard as John Tortorella once did.
Their ice time makes that argument, at least. Girardi is averaging 22:39 minutes per game this season after getting 25:25 per night in 2012-13 while Callahan is down to 17:54 after logging 21:31 per contest last season. It probably doesn’t help Callahan’s cause that his season began with some injury woes.
There is still plenty of time for the Rangers to re-sign one or both of these key contributors, but if these reports are correct, things could become interesting if they can’t compromise on contract extensions.
At the moment, Cap Geek projects their cap space at $29 million with 10 roster spots accounted for heading into 2014-15.