The puzzle pieces have fallen into place.
General Manager Glen Sather locked up arguably his most important restricted free agent forward, Ryan Callahan, this afternoon to a three-year-contract. Full terms of the contract have not yet been disclosed. The New York Rangers avoided going to arbitration which was scheduled for tomorrow.
The 26-year-old right wing has played the role of heart-and-soul for the Blueshirts. He finished last season with career highs with 23 goals and 48 points in 60 games. The real magic to #24 ‘s game was not in his offensive production, however, but rather his tenacity and go-getter attitude. Callahan knew how take a hit for the team and was a reliable penalty killer. The Rangers’ former fourth round draft pick is a leader with an admirable work ethic the team needs if they are to succeed.
He was among the NHL leaders in hits and blocked shots the last couple of seasons. It was clear the Rangers missed him in their playoff loss to the Washington Capitals last season. He missed the playoffs with a broken ankle he sustained while blocking a shot – how else?
The rumor mill is swirling and fans are chanting for the “C” to be bestowed on the American Olympian. Coach John Tortorella has said he won’t name a captain before training camp. One thing is certain. Whether Callahan upgrades the “A” on his jersey to a “C” or not, he will steer the Rangers’ ship in the right direction.
Summer Breeze: The latest deal to avoid arbitration seems to signal the end of a rather successful summer off-season for the oft imprudent general manager. Sather has retained a younger, hard-working core by re-signing forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Callahan along with defenseman Michael Sauer. He nabbed the coveted top line center Brad Richards, and the gritty forward Mike Rupp who could bring more depth. He also shed the costly salary of former captain Chris Drury with a buyout.