Lightning lock up Callahan to six-year, $34.8 million deal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning were very happy with what former New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan brought to the table after they acquired him in the Martin St. Louis deal. GM Steve Yzerman consequently made re-signing him a priority and he succeeded in that goal by locking up the 29-year-old forward to a six-year deal.

The financial terms weren’t disclosed by the Lightning, but he’ll come with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and a partial no-trade clause, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

“I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the next six years and I am excited for this new chapter of my career,” Callahan said. “Tampa Bay has been a great place to live and play from the day I got there. As soon as the season ended I knew it was a place I wanted to be.”

Callahan had 17 goals, 36 points, 189 hits, and 60 blocked shots in 65 games in 2013-14. His blend of grit and skill as well as his leadership abilities make him a great asset, but that same body-sacrificing mentality also make this six-year deal a risk. When he was still a member of the Rangers, they were reportedly hesitant to give him a long-term deal, for fear that he might not be durable enough to stay effective through his mid-30s.

The Lightning used their final compliance buyout on Ryan Malone, freeing up $4.5 million in cap space for the 2014-15 campaign. That means the Lightning’s short-term cap situation is still healthy even after this signing.