It’s the most wonderful time of mid-season again, NHL trade rumors are all over the place. One of the most talked about rumors around the league is whether or not the New York Rangers will trade their captain, Ryan Callahan. An un-restricted free agent at the season’s end, Callahan and his agent, Steve Bartlett, have been discussing his contract extension with Glen Sather and the talks have not gone as planned. If you haven’t already heard, Callahan is reportedly looking for a deal that would pay him nearly 7 million dollars a year for the next seven years. There is no doubt Callahan plays with his heart on his sleeve each and every night, but with his banged up body and average offensive capabilities, we just cannot afford giving him the contract he is looking for . Where do the Rangers go from here?
Over the last weekend, rumors have surfaced regarding the Rangers trading away Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for their captain, Martin St. Louis, who supposedly asked Lightning General Manager, Steve Yzerman, for a trade a little over a month ago. The only event that might have led up to St. Louis wanting out of Tampa Bay would be that he was omitted from the original Canadian roster for the Olympics. He was snubbed from a team where his own NHL General Manager selected the roster. St. Louis is 38 years old, but has posted 25 goals and 33 assists so far this season. That is more than any Rangers player in both categories. Martin St. Louis has a no trade clause (NTC), which basically means he cannot be traded unless he agrees to or requests to go to a certain team; and he, reportedly, would lift that NTC only to be dealt to the Rangers. Why here? St. Louis lives in Connecticut, so obviously it is understandable that he wants to be closer to family and friends, but he also might want another chance to play with his good buddy, Brad Richards. A line containing Richards and St. Louis would be a major throwback to when they were teammates in Tampa Bay and, oh yeah, won a Stanley Cup together.
Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis in a one for one deal would not work, as we have seen. Yzerman has already shot that down, but the possibility of this trade is very much still alive. The Lightning would most likely ask for a New York Ranger prospect and/or a draft pick. In my eyes, throwing some one in such as Jesper Fast would have to do the trick because the Rangers gave up their last pick for Daniel Carcillo earlier this year. If the Rangers cannot pull this trade-off, they have to do whatever it takes to move Callahan before the trade dead-line next Wednesday. Another team that has shown some interest in Callahan would be the St. Louis Blues. I’m sure Callahan’s Olympic teammates, David Backes and TJ Oshie, have visited their front office to try to urge them to pursue their Sochi teammate. With their recent move for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, who knows if that is still a possibility?
It’s going to be an interesting next few days before the trade deadline, but no matter what happens the Rangers have an important final stretch of the season remaining and they need to leave these rumors off the ice if they want to continue their strong play from before the Olympic break.