Alternate Captain Cally
Team USA had a fantastic preliminary round by winning their group and earning themselves a bye in the elimination rounds. They are definitely not the most skilled team in the Olympics, but their physical nature of play has them in line for another run at the gold medal.
This is a way of playing that the Isles must study and try to duplicate. Though they have an intimidating 4th line the Islanders need toughness throughout the top nine forwards and with the Islanders top rival, the Rangers, basically in salary cap hell they must go all out for their soon to be free agent captain and top USA forward, Ryan Callahan.
Callahan has been the backbone of a Rangers team that has made the playoffs five of the last six seasons and has unquestionably led by example with his blue-collar style of play. Callahan isn’t afraid to lie down and block a shot from anyone in the NHL and even though this tough and sometimes reckless style of play has led to multiple gruesome injuries, it is this style that helped Callahan become the 26th captain of the Rangers before the 2011-12 season.(flickr/suelucky)
“Captain Cally” as he has become known by the blue shirt faithful, is looking for a healthy salary increase with his impending free agency coming this summer. It has been reported by multiple outlets that Callahan has turned down the Rangers 5 year $30 million offer and countered with a 7 year deal somewhere in the $6.5-7 million range.
A deal like this seems to be out of the Rangers’ realm of something that can realistically be done and there are rumors swirling that they may deal Callahan before the March 5th trade deadline. The Rangers have other players that are hitting free agency this summer that they feel are more valuable that Callahan, especially for what he is asking for.
The Islanders are a team that would be a perfect partner for Callahan. The Isles will have an abundance of cash to spend following this season, they are starving for more star power, and they also lack the intense style of play that Callahan has been known for.
Callahan, a Rochester, New York native, can stretch the Isles lineup and make the 2nd line a more formidable one, something that this seasons Isles have clearly been lacking.
The Islanders are poised to have an expensive summer, dishing out some major contracts that will hopefully shape the team positively for years to come. There wouldn’t be any better way than to start off the July 1 free agency date by bringing in a true leader like Callahan. Not only is he a guy who is from New York, but also he’s excelled here for the past six seasons. Also what better way to tweak the Ranger fans by paying him what he wants and creating a new nickname for him, “Alternate Captain Cally”?