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Monday, March 3, 2014
Sources: Ryan Callahan OK at 6 years

By Katie Strang
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- With a little more than two days remaining until the NHL's trade deadline of Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, the staredown between the Rangers and captain Ryan Callahan continues, despite some progress toward a contract extension.

Callahan's camp has moved off its initial request for a seven-year deal and appears willing to negotiate for an extension at six years, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. That development is not a new one, however, despite the fact the news has just surfaced.

Callahan
The Rangers have a little more than two days to agree to an extension with Ryan Callahan before the trade deadline.

Callahan's camp expressed a willingness to bend on the seven-year term before the Olympic break, one source said, though that concession appeared to yield little progress.

Sources on both sides sound no more optimistic now than heading into the break, when Callahan went to Sochi, Russia, to compete for the U.S. team in the Olympics with his contract situation still unresolved.

Even if the sides agree on a six-year term, they remain at odds on the dollar amount, with the Rangers reportedly standing firm on offering $6 million per year and Callahan's camp reportedly seeking between $6.25 and $6.5 million annually.

The next two days will be critical for general manager Glen Sather as he decides whether to continue efforts toward locking up the 28-year-old winger long term, as he did last week with veteran defenseman Dan Girardi, or look to move the team leader in hopes of fetching the highest return possible.

After opening post-Olympic action with a win against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Rangers have since surrendered back-to-back losses, to Eastern Conference opponents Philadelphia and Boston.

Callahan remains one of the most enticing potential rental players on the market, along with Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson, and the trade deadline could offer even more intrigue if the names being bandied about are indeed available.

Reports last week suggested that veteran Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis and Canucks center Ryan Kesler were both seeking trades, which would add two elite scoring threats to the marketplace.

If Callahan is moved, Sunday's dispiriting 6-3 loss to the Bruins will be remembered as his last game as a Ranger, though the Rochester, N.Y., native said he didn't consider that possibility at the time.

"No, I didn't look at it like that," he said. "This is where I want to be. I'm just focused on doing what I can for the team."

Will he be a Blueshirt come Wednesday night, when the Rangers host the Toronto Maple Leafs?

"Just wait and see, I guess," Callahan said after Sunday's game. "Obviously, my heart's still here and I want to be here, so we'll see what happens."