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The Rangers are in a real predicament here.
On the one hand, it seems nearly unfathomable that the Rangers would trade their captain in the middle of the season.
On the other, if they can't re-sign him, then they would be wise to get some assets back.
Here's what we know on the Callahan situation.
The Rangers want to get this resolved before the Olympic roster freeze. As Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports:
Sources have told The Post general manager Glen Sather has established Friday's 3 p.m. pre-Olympic roster freeze, rather than the March 5 trade deadline, as the time of decision regarding Callahan's future. The Rangers want the situation resolved before the captain travels to Sochi, Russia, to play for Team USA and risks injury in The Games.
Katie Strang of ESPN reported that the Rangers have given Callahan's agent, Steve Bartlett, permission to speak to other teams.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported that Callahan wants a deal in the Dustin Brown range. Brown signed an eight-year, $47 million deal, according to CapGeek.
That may be a bit rich for a player who is not having a great year and is quite injury-prone.
If the team does trade him, it could be interested in Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.
So what do we make of all this? It could all be a negotiating tactic, a way to get Callahan to lower his demands. Or it could be real. We don't know.
What we do know is that Callahan is a third-line winger with 21 points in 39 games. He doesn't play on the power play anymore, and he's been demoted to the second-unit penalty kill. His time on ice is down nearly four minutes from a year ago. He will be 29 next month.
Still, Callahan is the captain, and trading your captain is always a sign of giving up. The Rangers are hot right now, winners of three straight and nine of their last 12. The Eastern Conference is weak, and the Rangers have established themselves as the third-best team in the conference. A run to the Eastern Conference Final is not out of the question.
If you trade Callahan, you break up the chemistry and signal to the team and fanbase that you don't care about this season.
Then again, if you let Callahan walk with no assets in return, the Rangers might set their franchise back.
It's a no-win situation for Glen Sather. But it's a decision that will set the tone for the remainder of the season.