The Rangers and Ryan Callahan will avoid arbitration after all. Callahan Wednesday signed a three-year, $12.825 million deal ($4.3 million against the cap). The deal does not include a no-trade or no-movement clause.
“I’m thrilled to be back for three years,” said Callahan, who broke career highs with 23 goals and 48 points despite missing 22 games due to injury. “I love playing for the Rangers.”
Callahan, 26, said he was prepared for his arbitration hearing, but hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
Callahan also said he received proposals for four and five-year contracts, but money could not be agreed upon, making the three-year deal work best.
It is expected Callahan could be named captain of the Rangers after former captain Chris Drury was bought-out of the final year of his contract in June. Brad Richards and Marc Staal are expected to be assistant captains, though Richards is also in contention for the “C.”
Avoiding arbitration is positive for both sides, This has become Callahan’s team, and the three-year deal allows him to continue to be apart of a team clearly moving in the right direction. Obviously if the two sides had gone to arbitration, it wouldn’t have ruled out a multi-year deal within the next 12 months, but better to get it complete sooner rather than later.
Callahan was the last domino of restricted free-agents to fall for the Rangers. Last week, the team signed Brandon Dubinsky to a four-year deal worth $16.8 million. Earlier in the offseason, the Blueshirts re-signed forwards Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle, as well as defenseman Michael Sauer.
This team feeds off Callahan’s aggressive style, and it was evident during his absence in the Rangers’ short-lived playoff run against the Washington Capitals. The team, especially Dubinsky and Anisimov, were starved for a spark in the five-game series against the Capitals.
Callahan brings all the intangibles to the table each night. He blocks shots and is among the league lead in hits and kills penalties. He also led the team in power play goals where he’s become a fixture in front of the net. He’s the personification of what the Rangers have become in recent years: a blue-collar, hard-working player who isn’t scared to get dirty or even break a few bones for a win.
The Rangers are now left with $1.3 million of available cap-space.
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