Update, 11:49 a.m.:
Steve Zipay at Newsday reports that beyond money, another hangup in the contract negotiations is an issue with no trade/no movement clause.
Dan Girardi received a full no trade clause during first three years of his contract and partial during the final three.
..i refuse to believe a no trade/movement clause will destroy any progress that's been made.
…Callahan's agent is obviously trying to shield his client from the Rangers dumping him
when if he breaks down in the first few years of the contract.
Welp, it's officially getting down to crunch time and still no deal as according to Dave Panotta at the Fourth Period, the Rangers rejected Ryan Callahan's six-year, $6.3 million proposal which was submitted by his agent yesterday.
On an episode of TSN's Insider Trading last night, Pierre Lebrun at ESPN.com notes that despite Callahan dropping his contract demands, it is believed that the Rangers won't budge from their standing six-year, $6 million per year offer.
…while it's encouraging to see Callahan drop his offer by around $450K per year, I have to wonder if he's willing to go any further. Which begs the question, if the Rangers aren't going to budge and Callahan has hit his bargain basement price, is the Ranger captain's tenure really going to end because of what could be $300K?
…i also wonder if Callahan realizes what this situation could possibly do to his reputation in this town. Coming into the season, he was one of the most beloved players to come through the Rangers organization. A heart and soul, home grown player who elevated himself to captain based on blood, sweat and tears. And that could all be thrown out the window no matter how this ends. If he doesn't sign and forces Sather into a trade he's seen as a greedy traitor who's more concerned about money than victories. If he does sign a lucrative contract, we could be looking at a Chris Drury redux. A real good player who doesn't have the skill set to live up his contract and will ultimately feel the wrath of the fans when he doesn't meet their unrealistic expectations. If Rangers fans have venom towards Callahan during the negotiations, how are they going to react when he gets that money and is only putting up 20 goals and 45 points a year, while the Blueshirts aren't sniffing a Cup?
So, if this does blow up and the Rangers do have to move Callahan, who would be interested?
Katie Strang at ESPN.com feels that even with the Martin St. Louis rumors dying down, Tampa remains a frontrunner as well as the St. Louis Blues despite their big trade with Buffalo.
…Strang is as credible as they come when it comes to trade rumors, but I don't see either Tampa nor St. Louis as real contenders for Callahan at this point for the reasons stated above.
…while you have to assume there's a darkhorse team no one's mentioning (Detroit?), if Sather can't find a suitable package for Callahan, won't he be forced to up his price & re-sign his captain?
If Sather does in fact find a buyer, but is unable to obtain an NHL player in return, who could the Rangers possibly acquire to fill-in?
Strang says that the Rangers are definitely interested in Matt Moulson, however, she wonders if Sather would be willing to give up a high pick for a rental, who may not be enough to get the Blueshirts over the hump.
…Moulson for Callahan? Not sure how that helps the Sabres other than getting a guy they're going to pursue hard this offseason in an attempt to wine and dine him in person the next four months, but Moulson would sure as hell upgrade the Rangers offense.
Also on the Rangers radar should they trade Callahan is the Canucks Alex Burrows, but Mark Spector at Sportsnet says the Rangers won't reach out to Vancouver regarding a trade until the offseason.
Burrows, who is usually good for almost 30 goals a season, is in the first year of a four-year contract that pays him $4.5 million per.
…this is too far in advance for me to even think about at this point.
Speaking of the Canucks, Nick Kypreos at Sportsnet says the Rangers are believed to be on Ryan Kesler's short list to waive his no trade contract for.
Vancouver is said to be looking for a 20-25 year old center, a top prospect and a first round pick for Kesler.
…Stepan, Kristo and a 1st would likely get it done. Any takers?
Finally, I was a guest on the Keefe to the City podcast last night discussing the Callahan contract saga, which you can listen to here.