Ryan Callahan, Rangers have deal

Updated: July 27, 2011, 5:59 PM ET
By Matt Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Rangers and restricted free-agent forward Ryan Callahan have agreed on a new contract, thereby avoiding arbitration, the team announced Wednesday.

Callahan's agent, Stephen Bartlett, said deal is for three years and $12.825 million. The deal will pay Callahan $4 million in each of the first two years and $4.825 million in the final year, a source told ESPN.com's Scott Burnside.

The Rangers have locked up all four of their restricted free agents who had filed for arbitration. Bartlett said he was getting ready to leave for Toronto for the arbitration hearing when the two sides struck a deal.

Bartlett said Callahan did not get exactly what he wanted, and neither did the Rangers, but called it a "good deal" and a successful negotiation. He added that the length of the contract was a compromise; Callahan is not tied in long term and will be a free agent again in three years.

"It's one of those cases where both sides realize the deadline of literally getting on a plane to go to Toronto, it pushes us to go that extra mile," Bartlett said. "(Rangers assistant general manager) Jeff Gorton did a good job on their part. Even though he was tough, he was fair and he hung in there to get a deal done. Give a lot of credit to Jeff."

Callahan, 26, is one of the cornerstones of the franchise. Last year, injuries -- including a broken right hand and a fractured right ankle -- cut short his season and he missed all of the playoffs, but he still managed to finish tied for second on the team with a career-high 48 points.

Bartlett said that Callahan is 100 percent healthy and working out and skating.

The forward, who played primarily on the second line last season, scored 23 goals and added 25 assists in 60 games. His absence in the playoffs notably affected the Rangers as they struggled to score in a first-round loss to the Capitals.

The Rangers originally drafted Callahan in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, and he already has assumed a leadership role, serving as an alternate captain the past two years. With the offseason buyout of captain Chris Drury, Callahan, one of the longest-tenured Rangers, could be in line to be the next captain.

In five seasons with the Rangers spanning 284 games, Callahan has scored 76 goals and contributed 68 assists.

"He loves New York and loves his teammates. Unfortunately, we have to deal with business and he leaves that to me," Bartlett said. "He was anxious to get it behind him and move forward and I think he's excited about the moves the team have made."

With Callahan back in the fold, the Rangers' offseason maneuvering likely is finished and viewed by the team as a complete success. They added the top free-agent center on the market in Brad Richards, as well as bringing in forward Mike Rupp.

They retained Callahan, forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov and defenseman Michael Sauer.

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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