After last night's bombshell that Ryan Callahan's contract demands are closer to $7 million per year than the originally reported $6 million, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Rangers captain will be playing elsewhere before the end of the week.
But Katie Strang at ESPN.com gives us a glimmer of hope as she reports that Callahan and the Rangers will sit down this week to discuss a possible extension...
"I'm going to circle back with the Rangers this week," Callahan's agent Steve Bartlett told ESPNNewYork.com.
Strang adds that Callahan's agent has fielded calls from multiple teams, but the sense is that many of those calls were to gauge just how seriously the Rangers are about trading the 28-year old.
Bergen Record - Gross: Keeping Ryan Callahan could be worth it to Rangers
Bergen Record - All systems go for Rangers' defenseman Moore
New York Post - Rangers’ Lundqvist to don NHL-sized pads for Sochi
New York Post - Tortorella: Unpaid suspension was ‘embarassing’
Newsday - Callahan in limbo and in lineupno comments
UPDATE (7:15) - Darren Dreger elaborated on TSN's Insider Trading, saying that Sather is "moving towards" moving Callahan and that it's "50/50" that a deal gets done. He does, however, state that it's unlikely a deal gets done prior to Friday's Olympic roster freeze, but mainly so they can maximize trade value. Dreger says the deal with the St. Louis Blues including Chris Stewart is "still there" and implies that there would be more coming from St. Louis. He finishes by warning that the clock is equally ticking on Dan Girardi and that, if he isn't signed this week, then he might enter trade talks as well.
(6:54) - It appears that the price for Ryan Callahan could be even higher than first thought. Both TSN's Darren Dreger and CBC/NBC/NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes have reported independently that Callahan could be seeking well above the seven-year, $42 million deal that has been thrown around in recent days.
Weekes went on Sportsnet The Fan 590 in Toronto and claimed that sources in New York told him that Callahan wants seven years and "between six and seven... closer to the 7 million dollar range." The conversation regarding Callahan begins around the 4:15 mark.
Dreger, meanwhile, went on TSN Drive on TSN 1050 in Toronto and gave similar news, claiming that Callahan wants "north of $6.5 and close to $7 million."no comments
And the injuries continue to mount for Dylan McIlrath.
Upon finally returning to the Hartford lineup on January 17th after missing three weeks with a knee injury, McIlrath is again on the shelf as Wolfpack broadcaster Bob Crawford reports that the Rangers 2010 first round pick has missed the last three games with an upper body injury.
Crawford tweeted out last Wednesday night that McIlrath was a scratch due to being a little banged up, but then confirmed on Saturday night that he also missed the weekend set of games because of the upper body injury.
McIlrath missed half of last season because of surgery to repair a dislocated knee cap.
...it's obviously easy to call McIlrath injury prone at this point, but it's just the nature of the game he plays. Whenever you're a tough, physical-minded defenseman, who isn't afraid to drop the gloves, injuries are a guarantee.
After today's practice, Alain Vigneault announced that while Henrik Lundqvist will get the start tomorrow night against the Avalanche, Cam Talbot will start one of the final two games before the Olympic break.
Those two games are Thursday against the Oilers and Friday at Pittsburgh.
...if I were a betting man, I'd put all my money on Talbot starting vs. the Oilers.
Vigneault added that because he expects Lundqvist to get a large Olympic workload, Talbot will be counted on in March.
Vigneault is hoping Talbot will end up with around 20 appearances this season. Talbot currently has 16 up until this point.
According to Pat Leonard at the Daily News, only one of the teams that the Rangers had granted permission to discuss contract extension details with Ryan Callahan had phoned his agent as of Saturday.
Leonard adds that the team is unknown, however, it is not the Columbus Blue Jackets who are reportedly interested in the Rangers captain.
Meanwhile, Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that the Buffalo Sabres are willing to meet Callahan's contract demands of seven-years, $42 million this offseason, but aren't interested in giving up assets to obtain him before the trade deadline.
Brooks adds that Buffalo would also make Callahan their team captain.
...i hope you guys don't get bored with the Lundqvist equipment posts. I know I mention it all the time, but being a former goaltender I'm always fascinated when he unveils something new.
...the only thing I'm hoping these pads help Lundqvist do is stay healthy.
Speaking of Lundqvist and the Olympics, the Swedish netminder says he will not bring his family with him to the Olympics becuase of security concerns in Sochi (via New York Post)...no comments
On the heels of the Columbus Blue Jackets interest in obtaining Ryan Callahan, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports that Rangers' pro scout Gilles Leger was at Nationwide Arena to scout the Blue Jackets/Panthers game last night.
Portzline adds that another Rangers pro scout, Rick Kehoe, was there on Thursday, but is often seen at the arena.
...if Columbus truly is interested in Callahan, then it makes sense that Rangers scouts are attending their games.
...i won't even try to humor you by stating the Rangers could be interested in bringing back any of the plethora of former players currently part of the Blue Jackets organization. I also have to assume Johansen (4th overall in 2010), Murray (2nd overall in 2012) and Horton are untouchable.
...just looking at the remainder of Columbus' roster I'm not exactly excited about what I'm seeing and their list of prospects is neither long nor distinguished. Maybe a package of 20-year old center Boone Jenner or Cam Atkinson along with first and second round picks would work? Or if Sather thinks he might have problems re-signing Girardi or Stralman, defenseman Jack Johnson along with picks could be an option.
After practice today, Ryan Callahan refused to comment on the on-going trade rumors (via Bergen Record)...
“I’m not going to talk about that stuff now. I don’t think it’s productive for the process of negotiations or anything.”
Alain Vigneault did say he expects his captain to be in the lineup on Tuesday night against the Avalanche.
Meanwhile, Derek Stepan discussed Callahan's importance to the team (via Daily News)...