Finally caught up to Ryan Callahan, who on Monday agreed to a two-year deal worth $4.6 million, a nice upgrade from the $600,000 he earned last season.
(UPDATE: Two Rangers for the price of one. Here's a link to a podcast interview with defenseman Matt Gilroy conducted by my friend and fellow Syracuse guy, Steven Gelbs).
Callahan is enjoying his summer home in Rochester before reporting to the U.S. Olympic camp Aug. 17-19. After that, he said he plans on returning to Westchester to begin training at the Rangers' facility.
Not surprisingly, Callahan, 24, was thrilled with the deal.
"It shows they have confidence in me," Callahan said. "It helps my confidence. If they think I'm deserving of all that cash, it's a confidence boost for me."
Besides, agreeing to terms meant Callahan avoided his arbitration hearing, slated for July 23.
"It's nice not to go to arbitration," he said. "I wasn't nervous about arbitration. That's how it goes sometimes. Obviously, if you can avoid it, you'd like to."
Callahan also said he did not believe there would be any problems accepting Donald Brashear into the Rangers' dressing despite his playoff hit that broke presumed ex-Ranger center Blair Betts' orbital bone.
"I think it's going to go as smoothly as it can," Callahan said. "I don't think he's going to have to explain himself. It's the game, people get emotional. But he's wearing a Rangers' jersey and he's one of us now. He served his time (a five-game suspension in the playoffs for that hit). Everybody looks up to him."
As for prized free agent Marian Gaborik, Callahan believes the ex-Wild should be a good fit for John Tortorella's system.
"He'll bring tons of scoring," Callahan said. "He's just a natural goal scorer. I remember playing against him and I've never seen anybody as fast and him. We want to run and gun and he'll fit into that perfectly."
Still, despite GM Glen Sather's offseason personnel flurry, Callahan said it's too early to tell whether the Rangers will be a better team.
"It's definitely too early to say that," Callahan said. "You've got to get the guys together and see how they mesh, that's a big part of it. We lost a lot of key guys but, at the same time, we got some good guys n here. It looks pretty good, we'll see if it meshes."
One player who departed was Lauri Korpikoski, like Callahan, a product of the 2004 draft class.
"For Phoenix, it's a big pickup," Callahan said. "He's on the verge of putting up some big points in the league. But it's a business and you move on."