Last night, Boomer Esiason tweeted that a Ryan Callahan trade was imminent. He then answered a lot of questions about what he was referring to, so we have a lot of details, actually. Esiason actually has a pretty good track record with Rangers news, and he answered enough to really narrow down the options. You can find that here (props to SNYrangersblog for writing such a great blog post to narrow it all down).
But first, let’s note that it’s not Marchand or Iginla, and Esiason said that Callahan isn’t going to Boston. Given that he said it’s most likely a 1 for 1, which means no three team deals, at least we know that our guys aren’t moving. I wouldn’t want them to — I like the makeup of the Bruins’ forwards now, even if Callahan would be a Bruins-type player. However… if they decided to say “fuck it” and get Cally as a rental 3rd line forward, probably put Reilly on the 4th line, then that would make the B’s the clear favorites to win it all… fine, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look around the league.
If you didn’t click on that link to the SNY blog, do it. It’s helpful. But on my own, I should list the teams that Esiason ruled out: Anyone in the west, Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and probably Washington, Ottawa, New Jersey, and Buffalo (Buffalo wasn’t specifically ruled out, but Matt Moulson was, and the only other forward on the roster that’s even in Cally’s stratosphere is Cody Hodgson). That leaves:
Philadelphia (I’m giddy over just thinking about these two teams trading), Carolina, Columbus, New York Islanders (but it’s not Vanek, so that’s unlikely), Detroit, Florida, Montreal, (Please no, I actually like Callahan), and Tampa Bay.
There have been thousands of guesses, from Martin St. Louis to Scott Hartnell to just about everyone. I’m assuming it is a 1 for 1 deal for a winger, because the Rangers are pretty good at center. Here are the most likely candidates, for my money.
Honorable mentions, starting from the most ridiculous to somewhat plausible:
(Note: for these ones, I’m not ruling out Washington, Ottawa, or New Jersey. They’re probably out, but not for sure.)
Max Pacioretty: Salaries work basically perfectly, but Montreal would riot even more than usual if they gave away a 24-year-old scorer like that without getting something more than Cally.
Jaromir Jagr: Highly doubt that the Rangers would want a rental, and that’s all that Jagr would be given his 42 years on this earth. Would make all the sense in the world for the Devils, as they’d get a guy that they could resign and build around. But I don’t think Rangers GM Glen Sather is going for it.
Jakub Voracek: Too young, too good. Similar to Pacioretty.
Troy Brouwer: Similar style to Callahan, but just not good enough.
Cody Hodgson: This seems really unlikely at first, but think about it. Callahan might actually resign in Buffalo, as he’s from Rochester. He’d be the only marquee guy singing for a lot in Buffalo, so Buffalo would do it in a heartbeat. If they use their two amnesties on Ville Leino and Tyler Myers, they’ll have a pretty clean cap sheet and the top pick this year and next. But they’ll also be probably trading Miller and Moulson soon, so that means that Cally would be accepting a trade to a bad team for a few years… Nevermind. Might have overthought this one.
But here are the three most likely, going from third to first:
Bobby Ryan: He could be a little too much for the Senators to give up, but the Rangers could have to put in a draft pick. This would be a smart move for both sides, assuming Callahan would be willing to resign. The Rangers would get a scoring winger that they need, and the Senators would get the two-way forward they could use and have said they’re in the market for. Ryan is from southern Jersey, and many have felt that he would like the idea of playing in the Mid-Atlantic region where he grew up (he was a Flyers fan, though…). The Rangers would want Ryan to resign after his contract is up in 2015, but they could probably get it done. This would be contingent on a stingy Senators organization resigning Callahan, which could be a problem. This would be the second most likely, ahead of the next guy, if the Senators weren’t sort of/probably ruled out by Esiason.
Alexander Semin: Same exact reasoning for the Ryan trade, in terms of the Canes getting an all-around player and the Rangers getting scoring. But Semin makes $7 million a year, and the Rangers have about $1.7 million in space in addition to Cally’s $4.275 million price tag. That leaves them a million short, so they’d have to throw in the terrible Derek Dorsett or something to get it done. (As always, thanks to capgeek for their salary figures.)
Martin St. Louis: This is the most likely guy, because Esiason also hinted that the guy was still playing in the Olympics, and St. Louis had the Gold Medal game this morning. He said that an injury could be the biggest problem to the trade, and that would make sense. Also, they’re both right wings, and St. Louis’ contract would barely fit under the Rangers cap numbers. He has another year, and it would make sense that the Rangers wouldn’t want to go rental for rental. I could see this from the Rangers perspective, but not much from the Lightning’s. There may be something with Yzerman and Marty, and it might be more than we realized when Yzer didn’t pick him originally for the Olympic team. But the Lightning will still be contenders next year, and I don’t know why they’d sacrifice another year of St. Louis for Callahan unless he resigns. How likely is Cally to resign in Tampa? I don’t know, but maybe it’ll all be about the money for him. If it is, so be it, but if it isn’t, then I doubt he’d stay. Tampa would likely have to negotiate with Cally before the trade would go down, and that’d be the sticking point. This one would be a blockbuster, and it would finally make the deadline that much more interesting again.