NHL trade rumors: Ryan Callahan's high asking price

Bruce Bennett

It was originally believed that the New York Rangers weren't happy with the length of Ryan Callahan's contract demands. Turns out the price tag might be just as steep.

Ryan Callahan has established an identity as the heart-and-soul leader of the New York Rangers, and the pending unrestricted free agent is looking to be paid more like the heart than the soul.

Contrary to initial accounts, Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting that Callahan and his representation are seeking a seven-year contract with an annual average value ranging from $6.5 million to just under $7 million. It was originally believed that Callahan was looking for an annual salary of $6 million over the span of a seven-year term, while the Rangers were offering the same annual average value over a five-year term.

Instead of dealing with a difference in term, it now appears as though the two sides significantly disagree on multiple levels, which could prove detrimental to Callahan's future in New York.

General manager Glen Sather is reportedly open to trading Callahan in the event that a new agreement can't be reached, and has identified Friday afternoon's Olympic roster freeze as a deadline to resolve the situation regardless of outcome. Sather is apparently worried about Callahan sustaining injury while representing the United States in the Olympics and wants to maximize his return if trade is necessary.

Callahan's agent, Steve Bartlett, told Katie Strang of ESPN on Monday that he planned to re-engage discussions with the Rangers sometime this week. Bartlett was granted permission from the Rangers last week to negotiate a contract with at least one rival club, but Bartlett said no significant developments had been made. Various league insiders have indicated that interested clubs are gauging how seriously the Rangers are shopping Callahan, because some view the move as a negotiating tactic to get the captain to lower his asking price.

The St. Louis Blues have been identified as a primary suitor and forward Chris Stewart is a name that has surfaced as a player of interest for the Rangers.

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