Callahan succeeds Trumbull native Chris Drury, who retired on Aug. 19 after the final year of his five-year, $35.25 million contract was bought out by the Rangers on June 30. Drury sat out most of the 2010-11 season with finger and knee injuries, finishing with only one goal and four assists in 24 games. He missed 68 games, which was more than in his first 11 NHL seasons combined, and then he couldn’t latch on with another team.
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The former Hartford Wolf Pack standout had NHL highs in goals (23), assists (25), points (48), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (five) last season despite missing 22 games with a broken wrist and ankle from doing what he is among the best at doing, blocking shots. Between the injuries, Callahan helped Team USA win a silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and later earned the Players’ Player Award, as voted by his teammates, and the John Halligan Good Guy Award, selected by the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association to recognize players’ cooperation with the media.
Mission accomplished for New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather.
Sather entered the offseason hoping to keep his core of marquee players intact for at least several years, and that goal was finalized Wednesday when former Hartford Wolf Pack right wing Ryan Callahan signed a three-year, $12.825 contract, averting an arbitration hearing in Toronto on Thursday. He will receive $4 million the first two years and $4.825 million the final year.
It seemed a fair price for both parties after Callahan was the Rangers’ second-leading scorer last season to former Wolf Pack linemate Brandon Dubinsky with career highs in goals (23), assists (25) and points (48) despite missing 22 of 82 games because of injuries. Callahan also continued to be one of the NHL’s leading penalty killers and shot blockers, which led to a broken hand and ankle, the second coming in an April 4 game and ending his season. And consider this: The Rangers were 14-3-1 when he scored and 24-7-1 when he had a point.