The New York Rangers play their 35th game of the NHL season tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins and it seems time to discuss whether it makes sense to trade potential unrestricted free agents Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan. That notion would have seemed ludicrous three months ago, but the Rangers have seemed out of sync and Callahan and particularly Girardi don’t seem to be playing at the same level they were when John Tortorella was coaching in New York. With the March 5 trade deadline 77 days away, the Rangers have to decide soon whether to sign or trade the two veterans who will be unrestricted on July 1. The case to trade them Gritty Callahan and Girardi were both symbolic of Tortorella’s style of play. Girardi seems to be having less impact under coach Alain Vigneault. Trading captain Callahan further symbolizes the move in another direction under Vigneault. The Rangers are still in the hunt to finish third in the Metropolitan, but it might be possible for them to stay in that hunt and still trade these guys. With many teams fighting salary cap issues, the Rangers might be able to get a veteran and a prospect and/or draft pick in return for each of those players. You could trade one for veteran help and the other for draft picks and prospects. There is a league-wide romance with both of those players because of their intangibles. Both seem to be more valuable in the playoffs. If the Rangers just let it play out, they could leave New York. They would be among the hottest free agents. They would both get big offers. The Rangers would have more salary cap room if they leave next summer, but no extra prospect or draft pick. Girardi’s situation under Vigneault might simply be a square peg-round hole situation. The case not to trade them These are unique players, and the Rangers will struggle to replace them the minute they trade them. GMs are constantly looking for scoring wingers who hit. Callahan is one of the best of the banging wingers. Every coach loves a shutdown guy like Girardi. One would guess that Tortorella would love to have him in Vancouver.
Should Rangers trade Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi?
USA Today | Dec 18