The NHL free agent period begins in less than a month, and one of the players who may be on the market is Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan. Callahan, a former member of the NY Rangers, is 29 years old and is wrapping up a three-year deal signed back in 2011. This past season, he made $4.825 million with a cap hit of $4.275 million.
The former NY Rangers captain is a native of Rochester, NY, just about 75 miles down I-90. Could the Buffalo Sabres bring Callahan back to WNY and sign him to a deal this offseason?
Many were surprised when Callahan was traded from the Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lighting in March of this year. The Rangers received Martin St. Louis in exchange for Callahan and a pair of draft picks. Talks between the Rangers and Callahan’s camp simply weren’t working out, and many believe he’s priced himself out of the NYR organization.
It’ll be a matter of time before we see if the price is right for the Lightning or if they’ll let Callahan walk to free agency. If that’s the case, could he be a good fit for the Sabres?
Long before his NHL days, Callahan played in Syracuse with the Jr. Crunch and in Buffalo with the Lightning of the OPJHL. He then spent four years with the OHL’s Guelph Storm before making the transition to the NHL and AHL. Prior to March, Callahan had been property of the Rangers organization for nearly ten years, since he was drafted in 2004.
This season, Callahan had 25 points (11-14) in 45 games with the Rangers prior to the trade. He then had 11 points in 20 games with the Lightning and failed to register a point in four playoff games.
Overall, Callahan has over 500 games of NHL experience (regular season and playoff) and has 289 points in his NHL career.
As it stands right now, the Buffalo Sabres have three right wingers signed for next season: Drew Stafford, Brian Flynn and Chris Stewart. Matt D’Agostini is set to become an unrestricted free agent. There could be a spot for Callahan in Buffalo, and he might be willing to sign in Buffalo and return close to home — even though he hasn’t played on a Buffalo team since 2002 — if the Sabres are willing to give him the price he’s looking for.
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