UPDATE (9:05) – Larry Brooks is now reporting that the Rangers are offering five years at $6 million annually, whereas Callahan is holding strong on his demand for a 7-year deal. He goes on to say that, while the Rangers' interest in signing him is sincere, they are "prepared to move on" without him and will deal him by next Friday. Brooks also has seperately confirmed that the Rangers are interested in Chris Stewart.
(8:50) – Darren Dreger claims that Callahan wants a seven-year deal at "north of $6 million dollars" and that, unless he contract demands soften there is a "100% chance" he gets traded. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, says that a few Western Executives are still not completely convinced that Sather doesn't want to re-sign him. (TSN Insider Trading)
(8:05) – ESPN New York's Katie Strang, always reliable and tuned in, backs up Dreger's report. She says the Rangers have "granted permission for other teams to contact" Callahan and his agent. This raises questions of semantics. Does this mean the Rangers have officially allowed ANY team to just call up Callahan? Or does this mean that the Rangers have granted permission for a few teams to speak to him, and others still would have to go through Sather to do so as well? In either case, it's just another log on a fire that is burning higher and higher.
Meanwhile, The New York Post's Larry Brooks is now claiming that the Rangers want to decide Callahan's fate one way or the other prior to the Olympic trade-freeze, which occurs next Friday. Brooks claims that this is in part due to concern that Callahan could get hurt, and thus killing his trade value. I also personally speculate that the Rangers, still in the middle of the playoff hunt, know that it's only going to grow as a distraction and want to kill that, whether through an extension or a trade. Brooks reiterates buzz around Chris Stewart, though he does not mention whether that's just rehashing earlier thoughts or if it's his own information. He also implies that the Rangers could be hoping to open up cap space for Avalanche center Paul Stastny, who becomes a free agent in the summer.
(6:20) – The New York Rangers have allowed at least one team to speak with Ryan Callahan's agent, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
Developing story, NYR grant permission to at least 1 team who has already talked with Callahan's agent. More on Sportscentre. #TSN
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014
Callahan, 28, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and has been the subject of trade speculation over the last month.
Let's make a few things clear here. First of all, Darren Dreger is just about as reliable of a source for anything hockey as there is (unless it involves the Maple Leafs, but that's a whole different story that I'm not going to get into right now). What Adam Schefter is to football, or what Ken Rosenthal is to baseball, or what Anderson Cooper is to whatever political event… Dreger is close to hockey's equivalent.
Secondly, this is, in fact, a game changer. This is more than speculation or light dabbling into rumors about a trade. Assuming Dreger is correct here – which he almost always is – there is a very, VERY real chance that Ryan Callahan is traded. There is nothing to be gained by letting Callahan speak to other teams if Glen Sather's end-goal is re-signing Callahan. If anything, it hurts such a goal. Allowing other teams to speak to Callahan means that Callahan will hear other valuations of him, and as such creates higher competition.
So where do we go from here? This does not in anyway promise a Ryan Callahan trade. It does not make it imminent or probable. It does, however, change the perception of Sather's intentions. Whereas bits and pieces that have leaked in the past have inferred to some extent that Sather was simply exploring all options while playing games through the media, this is a whole different level. For Sather to allow another team to speak with Callahan's agent, it means that Glen Sather and the Rangers are very seriously considering a move prior to this season's trading deadline.
As for possible destinations, Dreger previous implied that the Blues could make a play for Callahan, with the Rangers looking at Chris Stewart. Meanwhile, the reliable Pierre LeBrun of ESPN mentioned that the Columbus Blue Jackets (of course) have shown some interest in Callahan.
We'll update with any news. Should make for an interesting pre-game and post-game tonight as the Rangers face the Islanders.
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