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Friday, January 31, 2014

Should The Montreal Canadiens Go After Ryan Callahan?

Callahan is an impending UFA.
It is been said that Ryan Callahan is available, or rather, that New York Rangers GM Glen Sather is entertaining the idea of trading him if he feels they are not close to reaching an agreement in their contract negotiations. Sather would rather get something for him now, than lose him and get no significant return. Makes sense.

It is rumoured that Callahan is looking for a long-term deal in the 6-7 year range and an average annual salary of around 6 million dollars.

Here are the implications, both negative and positive of the Canadiens making a move to acquire the services of New York Rangers' Captain Ryan Callahan via trade or signing him in the summer.

The good

1) Callahan would fit nicely on the right wing in lieu of Brian Gionta over the next few seasons.

2) Ryan Callahan is a stereotypical Marc Bergevin type player. Gritty, hard nosed, plays with a lot of heart, not afraid to block shots or to stick up for his teammates and be a leader. The “C” is for CHARACTER!

3) Callahan is a former teammate of Brandon Prust. When they last united their efforts, their team went deep into the playoffs.

4) On a line with Thomas Plekanec they would form one of the hardest duos to play against in the NHL. #plekanecforselke

5) The salary cap is supposed to go up considerably in the next few years.

6) His acquisition would undoubtedly make the Habs better right now.

The bad

1) Callahan's production has diminished quite a bit recently, he has had 51 points in his last 83 games. Not bad but not worth over 6 million a year for 6 years.

2) His size (5'10”) combined with his style of play have led to numerous injuries in his case.

3) His salary demands are quite hefty for a 28-year-old forward who has never achieved more than 55 points at the professional level. Yes, that includes the AHL.

4) Trading for Callahan would cost the Habs at the very minimum a high pick and a prospect. All that and you're not even guaranteed to retain his services after this season. And they could still miss the playoffs! That's a worst case scenario, and a grim one indeed!

5) A long-term contract for a player of that calibre would tie up money that would go towards Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and any other Habs player who should get a raise over the next few seasons. It would also hinder the ability to sign other bigger name free agents or even trade for a high-impact player. Of course, this all depends on how much the cap goes up over the next few years.

6) He could become the Habs' version of David "water bottle" Clarkson .An overpaid, under-producing winger who has leadership qualities. (For those of you who don't know about the water bottle incident with Todd Bertuzzi, I strongly encourage you to Google it.)

Impressions & Possibilities

I think Callahan is a solid hockey player who leaves it all on the ice and would be useful in Montreal.
We are also desperate for a good right winger. That being said, Marc Bergevin has quite a few things to figure out before he can chase down a player whom, if acquired via trade, would probably have to be signed to a new, hefty, long-term contract. As we know, Callahan for the Canadiens, would be a longer term solution and not a rental player. That, in all likely hood, would mean making him one of the top-three most paid players in Habs history. If you're thinking: “That doesn't seem right.” It doesn't, it would be outrageous!

Bergevin has his work cut out for him. He still needs to sign P.K. Subban, sign or trade Andrei Markov, Lars Eller and Raphael Diaz. Try and get Rene Bourque to produce or send him away to anywhere for anything. (At this point I would trade Bourque for a sack of potatoes from Aaron Downey's family farm.) He is pretty useless out there. I am excited to see Christian Thomas, hopefully, take his spot in the line-up.

Bottom line is: Bergevin needs to paint a clearer picture of the future of the Canadiens before he goes chasing players, paying them handsomely and sacrificing youth. After those issues are addressed and Bergevin knows what kind of cap space he will have this summer, he will be able to sign guys like Callahan, Moulson, Orpik or Nikitin. But I don't see a trade happening right now, even if Callahan is a Bergevin type player.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike Gowing

Folllow me on twitter @habsosaurus

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