The Rangers hosted their annual Casino Night for charity Monday night, and captain Ryan Callahan, whose talks on a new contract have been going in fits and starts for months, hopes to hit the jackpot before Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
No substantial progress in negotiations was reported Monday night, but Callahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, and agent Steve Bartlett were trying to nail down a six-year contract extension worth more than $36 million.
Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather, who doesn't want to lose Callahan without any return in July, has been listening to trade offers while talking but has not been ready to pull the trigger.
With the Rangers trying to reach the playoffs in a battle that could go down to the last regular-season games in April, it is believed that Sather cannot get equal value in a deadline swap. Callahan has produced eight goals and seven assists in the last two postseason runs.
To be sure, Callahan, who turns 29 on March 21, is not the type of elite offensive weapon who should command top dollar. He has totaled more than 50 points only once. His value is derived from a career of intensity and intangibles, playing an all-around game, including on special teams, blocking shots (47 in 45 games) and delivering hits (132). To many, however, that style raises questions about his effectiveness and longevity into his 30s.
The fearless right wing, who was drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round in 2004, repeatedly has professed his desire to remain here as the stalemate has lingered.
Callahan has said that Friday's decision by close friend and longtime teammate Dan Girardi to sign a six-year, $33-million extension has had no impact on his thinking, but the sense around the team is that the deal makes it a little harder for him to walk away from a lucrative offer and test the waters elsewhere.
Whatever the decision on Callahan, the Rangers -- who have lost two straight and host Toronto Wednesday -- are believed to be considering other moves at the deadline: adding a forward with size and an experienced defenseman.
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