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Esiason: Callahan for St. Louis Trade in The Works

by Photo of Gil Santos

A captain swap is rumored to be in the works between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Esiason: Callahan for St. Louis Trade in The Works

Boomer Esiason said on his WFAN morning radio show, "Boomer & Carton," that he has been told the New York Rangers are seeking to trade their captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for their captain Martin St. Louis. He also said he first heard about the deal four weeks ago and believes it will get done. 

Contract negotiations have stalled between the Rangers and Callahan, so they want to acquire something of value for the pending free agent. TSN reported a few weeks ago that Callahan is seeking seven years and over $6.5 million per for his new contract. In addition, a conditional draft pick could be added if Callahan resigns with Tampa. 

Esiason teased the trade over the weekend on Twitter with not one but two tweets about the proposed deal.       

On the Tampa Bay Lightning front, it may come to a surprise to their fans that they would consider trading their captain and leading point scorer. However, Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet tweeted on Sunday that St. Louis asked for a trade after he was initially not selected for Team Canada. The snub appeared to have strained the relationship between St. Louis and team general manager, Steve Yzerman, who also was the executive director of Team Canada. St. Louis eventually made the team due to his teammate Steven Stamkos' injury, but the damage was already done.

The trade makes little sense for the Lightning. Despite the status of St. Louis and Yzerman's relationship, it doesn't seem like a good move to trade your captain and leading scorer for a potential rental especially when the team looks to be a Stanley Cup contender. The 38 year old has carried the team to a 33-20-5 record without Tampa's best player, Stamkos, recording 25 goals and 31 assists. While Callahan will bring more grit and defense, it won't make the team better.

For the Rangers, the deal would be solid for them. While losing their captain and a great two-way player would be unfortunate, they receive an exceptional leader and a bonafide goal scorer in return. Moreover, Callahan's contract demands are absurd compared to other players that play the same style. 

Los Angeles Kings' captain Dustin Brown is a great example. Brown received an eight-year contract extension in the summer for $5.87 million per year. Callahan and Brown play the same gritty, two-way game, but Brown is slightly better. While Brown has three more years of NHL experience, he has five seasons of 50-plus points while Callahan has one. In addition, Brown is just one year older than Callahan and is not as injury-prone. 

With March 5th trade deadline fast approaching, we will see if Esiason will keep his perfect record of breaking hockey news. 

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