When Rangers fans finally deciphered Boomer Esiason's not so cryptic tweets that a Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis trade was in the works, most wondered about the former NFL quarterback's credibility.
To me, there should be no question. His sources are impeccable and nailed this rumor, unfortunately, they seem to be late to the party.
Bob McKenzie at TSN confirms that the Rangers offered Callahan to the Lightning for St. Louis in the immediate aftermath of the Tampa captain being snubbed for the Canadian Olympic team by his very own General Manager Steve Yzerman on January 7th, but adds it's not happening.
McKenzie noted on his blog that while this story is just now finally coming to light, it's a couple of weeks old and perhaps outdated.
So, why isn't this trade happening? McKenzie explains here…
"Tampa, especially now that Steven Stamkos is closer to returning, is a potential Eastern contender. St. Louis is a huge part of the Lightning attack and if you take a primary offensive catalyst out of the Bolts' lineup now, it's difficult to believe it could be accomplished with Ranger captain Callahan coming the other way on an expiring contract. Yzerman would want and need more from the Rangers than that.
And as long as we presume the Lightning want to remain a contender in the East this season, trading St. Louis for future considerations or younger, unproven players presents its own set of unique problems in the short term. As for the Rangers, they're not about to start giving up draft picks, prospects or young players for a 38-year-old. So the Tampa-NYR fit doesn't appear to be there."
McKenzie did add that there is reason to believe in the immediate aftermath of the Canadian Olympic team fiasco, St. Louis indicated to Tampa management he may look favorably on a move out of Tampa.
McKenzie further noted that there has been talk that the only team St. Louis would waive his No Move Clause for was the Rangers as his off-season home is just outside NYC, in Connecticut.
Damian Cristodero at the Tampa Bay Times says that it would be a public relations nightmare for the Lightning if they traded their greatest player and Yzerman is all about acquiring young talent that helps insulate the organization from salary cap pressures.
Meanwhile, Darren Dreger feels the Rangers would have loved to make this trade…
Dreger: "I can assure you that if that deal [TBL St. Louis for Callahan] was ever proposed that the Rangers would make it instantly."
— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) February 24, 2014
…unless St. Louis is putting immense pressure on Tampa management to get him out of town in response to being initially overlooked for the Olympics, I can't figure out how this makes sense for the Lightning.
…but beyond that, seeing reports from a reliable source such as McKenzie that Sather has in fact offered Callahan to another team has me in full panic mode. Especially when reports are that there's been no progress in contract negotiations.
…i'm holding out hope that Sather merely saw an opportunity to get Callahan's name in a legit trade discussion involving an elite return that he knew would never be accepted as a negotiating ploy. Although, I guess when the initial offer never made it into the rumor mill as the Rangers GM had likely hoped, he decided to feed it to Boomer.
…now don't get me wrong, Sather should under no circumstances cave into Callahan's absurd demands (six-years, $6.75M per) in an attempt to keep him in a Blueshirt. However, no matter whose at fault, it's going to be a sad day in Rangers history if he's moved because in the end the only ones who lose are the fans.
The Rangers are reportedly interested in the 22-year old, 5' 10' defenseman Sami Vatanen in return.
Girardi is seeking a six-year, $5.75 million extension.
…there better be some first round picks involved with that return for Girardi. No way the Rangers should be giving up a right-handed, first pair, shutdown defensman in his prime for potential. I need something legitimate in return.
Finally, here's Alain Vigneault on how his two homegrown players are handling all the distractions (via New York Post)…
“They’ve been New York Rangers since the beginning of their careers,” he said. “I know that they both want to stay here, and as much as they might say that it hasn’t bothered them, they’ve handled it in an incredible way.
“I’m confident that whatever happens here in this final stretch, being positive, I hope that they’re Rangers and I hope that they’re going to stay Rangers for a long time, but they’ve done a great job in handling it and staying focused on the game and I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen here as we move forward.”