As I’ve been known to do sometimes, I’m going to ignore the work of my esteemed co-writers (in this case, Kevin) and offer my thoughts on a landmark day in Rangerland. So, if you’re not looking for more analysis of the Trade Deadline, tough. Read it any way. Here’s my thoughts on Wednesday’s trade deadline activity, mostly Cally, but other thoughts as well.
- As much as I want to be upset and nostalgic about Cally’s departure, I’ve been unable to muster it. After hearing Cally’s post-trade comments, coupled with the fact that when push came to shove he was unwilling to come down from his unrealistic (for any team but Buffalo) contract demands, it became all business for me.
- I was very encouraged by the first appearance by Marty St. Louis. He was aggressive, involved and looked very dangerous. He did appear to be trying a little too hard to bury one in his first appearance. I think he’s going to help balance out the Top-6 and give the team three dangerous looks to throw at opposition defense. Read more »
It’s sad to see Callahan go, but St. Louis is a special talent
The Ryan Callahan saga finally drew to a close yesterday in dramatic fashion. Boomer Esiason’s report from two weeks ago proved true as the Blueshirts dealt their captain, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2014 second-round pick to the Lightning for Martin St. Louis. Despite plenty of rumors, the move came as quite a shock. It seemed like Callahan was inching closer to an extension with New York and that Tampa Bay was intent on hanging onto St. Louis until the offseason, but the deal quickly became a reality on Wednesday. There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get to it.
- Even though we started discussing this possibility a long time ago, it was impossible to prepare for a Callahan trade. It will be very difficult to see him in another uniform. Callahan’s contract demands were much too high, but he was the heart and soul of this team for years and beloved by Rangers fans. It’s a real shame it had to come to this.
- That said, St. Louis and Callahan are on different levels as players. Callahan has exhibited more skill than many give him credit for, but he’s still really a second-line winger (and maybe a third-liner before long). St. Louis, on the other hand, is one of the elite players in the world, even as a 38-year-old. He led the league in scoring last season and is having another great year. Since Callahan entered the league, he has put up 254 points, while St. Louis has notched 622. It’s no contest. So despite how great Callahan was, you can’t help but be happy with the acquisition of St. Louis.
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After months of negotiations, the Rangers could not strike a deal with their captain Ryan Callahan. Today, hours before the trade deadline, they sent their captain to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis. The Rangers will also send a 1st round pick in 2015 and a 2nd round pick in 2014 (becomes a 1st if the Rangers make it to the conference finals) to Tampa. Confirmation came from Renaud Lavoie, and terms from Bob McKenzie.
If Cally re-signs in Tampa Bay, the Rangers will get Tampa’s 2nd rounder in 2015 and Tampa will get the Rangers 7th rounder in 2015.
I hope you’re all ready for a long three days of endless Ryan Callahan rumors. As the trade deadline approaches on Wednesday, we are going to hear endless “Callahan to [insert team here]” rumors, even more “Callahan’s updated demands” rumors, and some ‘Glen Sather ups his offer” rumors. This time around, we have a few new rumors, courtesy of Pierre LeBrun.
LeBrun stated that both sides have moved off their initial demands. The Rangers are holding firm at six years and $36 million, while the Callahan camp has come down to six years and “south of $6.5 million.” I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that the Girardi term (six years) means the Rangers are going to go to six years for Cally. There’s a deal to be made here, whether or not you agree with the term or dollars.
Girardi staying helps the Rangers look elsewhere long term. Photo Credit: US Presswire
For several years the Rangers had a relatively steady flow of defensive prospects make it to the NHL through the system. Whether it was Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer or Girardi himself, the Rangers were able to supplement the NHL roster with cost effective home grown talent. Recently, there have been concerns of the talent approaching the NHL level.
With the relatively slow progress made by Dylan McIlrath (who still has time on his side) and the unknown NHL projections of Brady Skjei and Calle Andersson, the Rangers don’t have the ability to promote from within. Perhaps Conor Allen aside, there is very little that could step up in short notice.
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It’s the time in hockey season where rumours are rampant. Ryan Callahan is apparently already half way out the door, the Rangers are apparently in bed with Martin St Louis and apparently Glen Sather will ‘check in’ on Ryan Kesler. All of these rumours have legs to some degree, so when you hear Derek Stepan’s name mooted as a piece Vancouver may want back for any Kesler deal, it does make you question the moving pieces.
The Rangers, for the long term, cannot afford to move Stepan. Not just because he is a home grown, quality player but because too much change is never a good thing. Consider the likely departure of Brad Richards in the summer. Consider also the expiring contracts of Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore. Then throw into the mix the still uncertain future of Derick Brassard (How much is enough? Is he even kept?). There is a legitimate chance in all of this then that the Rangers entire center ice unit changes. Until you realize no team in their right mind would change an entire position over one deadline/off-season. Right, Glen?…
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I still can’t get used to Alain Vigneault’s steady line combinations after four years of John Tortorella’s incessant juggling, but Vigneault has stuck with the same combinations for quite some time now. It’s worth nothing that the Rangers finally turned a corner this season thanks in no small part to the team’s balance and chemistry up front. Mats Zuccarello has been the team’s best forward so far this season and a key cog in Vigneault’s formula, but with him lost for likely another week or two (not to mention the upcoming trade deadline), Vigneault will be forced to rejigger his preferred trios.
Throw in the fact that winger Derek Dorsett is ready to return from a broken fibula and 20-year-old J.T. Miller, who has been dominant in the AHL, was recalled last night, and it’s tough to predict what Vigneault will end up with. It’s probably most likely that Vigneault will be forced to try several different new looks – which might not be settled by the trade deadline in three games, throwing us back to square one.
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Courtesy of NYR Zone
In case you missed it, Boomer Esiason sent Twitter into a craze over the weekend when he posted a series of tweets alluding that Ryan Callahan will be traded before the deadline. What started as a more casual conversation with ambiguous thoughts and ‘gut feelings’ turned in to something much more.
By the time he was done responding to fans he had crossed out potential trade partners as well as specific trade candidates. In other words, he’s claiming to know something. This whole thing was basically positioned as something where both parties already agree upon the framework of a deal. For all of his tweets, click here.
Now I know some of you may ask, how would a former NFL QB get inside scope on the Rangers? It’s a fair question and the answer doesn’t seem obvious, at least not at first.
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Keeping Callahan means building a contender (Photo: Anthony Gruppuso, USA TODAY Sports)
If you’re a cup half full kind of person, assume for a minute that both Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi sign back up with the Rangers and the core remains intact. Let’s also assume for a moment that Anton Stralman sticks around for a reasonable cost, and all of a sudden the Rangers fine core remain together; losing ‘just’ Brad Richards who is surely off to pastures new.
With the NHL salary cap going up this summer –and with the Rangers likely to have some serious cap room to play with– the opportunity (or danger?) to go out and entice a major free agent or two is there. Of course, most Rangers fans start getting anxious at the thought of Glen Sather having a blank cheque book. Sather’s Achilles heel is his free agency history.
Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman represent the key to the Rangers spending ability this summer. The upcoming free agency period is absent of legitimate options on the blueline, unless you’re happy to over commit to 36 year or 37 year olds. With Girardi and Stralman (hopefully) under wraps the Rangers retain one of the deepest defensive units in the league, allowing them to focus any spending up front, where there could be a few quality players available.
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Still don’t think he’s going anywhere
Last night, news broke that TSN’s Bob McKenzie joined the discussion about the possibility of trading Ryan Callahan. While McKenzie did not specifically state Cally would be traded, he alluded to the fact that he will either re-sign or be dealt by the trade deadline. I am sticking to my prediction that Cally re-signs, but when McKenzie says there’s a chance Cally will be traded, you listen.
I again need to be on record: A team that is in the thick of things in the conference –and has a legitimate shot at representing the Eastern Conference this May/June– doesn’t trade their captain. It doesn’t happen. That said, McKenzie’s comments have shifted things, and for the sake of argument, there are 29 teams that could use Cally’s services. So let’s go through these possibilities.
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