Depending on who you believe, New York Rangers' captain Ryan Callahan could've already played his last game in Broadway blue, or could see his contract stalemate drag all the way to the March 5th trade deadline.
Larry Brooks of The Post says Glen Sather has installed this upcoming Friday's pre-Sochi roster freeze as the deadline regarding Callahan's future–because of the injury risk the Olympics represent–while the Daily News quotes The Captain's agent, Steve Bartlett, as being unaware of any hard deadline.
A game of he said, he said at it's finest.
It's become apparent at this point that Sather, while not necessarily keen on the idea, is not bluffing and is willing to part with Callahan. Sather is looking to pressure Callahan into signing on his terms by imposing a deadline. Whether it works is anyone's guess. The Rangers' captain is seeking a 7-year pact at $6 million per year, while Sather is believed to be willing to go no higher than 5 at the same annual cap hit.
The two camps aren't exactly an ocean apart, but a $12 million difference in value is at least a sizable stream.
Callahan has said little on the matter, other than the standard: "My heart's here." No one's ever doubted that, but the more important question is: Where is his wallet?
The ball is ultimately in Callahan's court. There's little reason to believe Sather will blink first, so if The Captain wants to remain a Ranger, he'll take the more than fair deal the Blueshirts have offered him. If he wants to maximize his earnings–and no one could blame him if he does–he'll balk and be dealt.
Callahan is not a perfect player. In the pantheon of Rangers' captains, he's more Kelly Kisio than Mark Messier–a player with many admirable qualities, but hardly legendary and far from irreplaceable. Hence the impasse.
If The Captain does go, it is behoovent on Glen Sather to get something significant in return. The bounty he procured from Columbus in exchange for Marian Gaborik–a more talented, but not as loved player–was just barely adequate enough for him to earn a pass.
But when you trade your captain while fighting for a playoff spot, it can't be for just spare parts. The Rangers will require a a player of some skill and scoring punch in return. As Sather begins the process of reshaping the Blueshirts, he can't afford to swing and miss on this one.
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