Per Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News, Ryan Callahan’s agent Steve Bartlett has received permission to discuss a contract with at least one other NHL team. Naturally, this news has brought about panic, as the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres are reportedly interested in the Rangers captain. Before the panic hits red alert mode, I think we should take a step back and address this news with clear minds. It’s why I didn’t post on it yesterday when the news broke.
It’s clear what Cally’s market value –in terms of dollars– is. He’s in the $5.5 million to $6 million range. That’s market value for so many other comparables out there. The problem is that the organization and the player cannot agree on term. The Rangers want to shorten the length and offer more money annually (rumor is they offered 5 years at $6 million a year). Callahan wants 7 years. A seven-year deal would keep Cally a Ranger until he is 36 years old.
My only concern with a seven-year deal is that Cally’s style of play –combined with his size– doesn’t lend to long-term durability. He’s certainly not as injury prone as everyone makes him out to be (this season and 2010-2011 are the only years where he missed significant time), but we’ve seen players like him diminish quickly between ages 30-32. The league has many cases, but Chris Drury is one that should be fresh on everyone’s mind, as he seemingly fell off a cliff after his 33rd birthday.
With that brief analysis aside, and I really don’t want to re-hash everything we’ve spoken about regarding Cally, what does this news mean?
This is simply another tactic in negotiating. I’d venture a guess that the Rangers and Cally have agreed on dollars, not term. When that happens and there is an impasse in the negotiations, something needs to be done to bridge the gap. Will another team give Cally seven years? Will he get shorter term and more dollars from this team? Whether he does or doesn’t isn’t really the issue, it’s that the result can be brought back to the negotiating table.
Consider this mystery arbitration. Neither side can agree on a deal, so they bring in a third-party to see where the market is truly at.