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Rangers Sign Callahan and Set the Market

The New York Rangers re-signed restricted free agent Ryan Callahan to a two-year $4.6 million contract on Monday night.  Callahan is set to earn $2.2 million this season and $2.4 million next season.  

From the Rangers Website...

Callahan, 24, established career-highs in games played (81), goals (22), assists (18), points (40), and penalty minutes (45) last season. He also won the Steven McDonald Award, voted by the fans as the player who performs "above and beyond the call of duty."

This was the third season of his career but the first season where he made an impact with the Rangers.  He jumped from 8 goals in 2007-2008 up to 22 this past season.  It is a bit surprising that the Rangers paid so much for a player that has only had one good season in the NHL.

His numbers are almost identical to those of Drew Stafford, in fact they are a little bit lower than Stafford's numbers.  This will be a contract that Stafford and his agent will point to when they try to get a deal done with the Sabres.

If you had ideas that Stafford would sign for $2 million or less than think again.  There is no way that Callahan signs for $2.3 million per season and Stafford makes only $2 million.  Stafford had career highs this season with 20 goals and 45 points, stats that are similar to those of Callahan.  Stafford will argue that he is a more established player than Callahan because he has put up decent numbers for three seasons while Callahan had a breakout year.

2006 - Ryan Callahan 14 4 2 6 5 9 0 0 1 0 40


2007 - Ryan Callahan 52 8 5 13 7 31 0 1 1 0 92


2008 - Ryan Callahan 81 22 18 40 7 45 2 1 1 0 237


2006 - Drew Stafford 41 13 14 27 5 33 3 0 3 0 67
2007 - Drew Stafford 64 16 22 38 3 51 1 0 5 0 103
2008 - Drew Stafford 79 20 25 45 3 29 9 0 0 2 183 10.9


Based on the above stats you have to figure that Stafford will get somewhere in the range of $2.75-$3 million per season.  He has scored 49 goals in his first three seasons and he figures to get even better as he matures as a player. 

It appears that once again Glen Sather may have slightly over paid and now the Sabres will have to pay for it.  This contract may also figure into Clarke MacArthur's arbitration hearing.  MacArthur is in is third season and has 28 career goals in comparison to Callahan with 34.  MacArthur is likely to make less Than $2 million per season but a contract of $1.5 per season is not out of the question.

The contract seem pretty reasonable but will the Sabres be able to afford them?  What are the chances that both Stafford and MacArthur are both still in Buffalo when the season starts?