Ryan Callahan signs six-year extension with Lightning

  • Joe Ray
ryan callahan

Ryan Callahan is now the second highest-paid player on the Lightning. (Associated Press File Photo)

The Tampa Bay Lightning are widely respected for having one of the deepest pools of young players in the NHL. On Wednesday, the Lightning locked up a veteran they hope will lead the way to that promising future ahead.

While many assumed Ryan Callahan would seek a large payday in free agency, general manager Steve Yzerman and the Lightning found a way to keep the 29-year-old in Tampa. Callahan and the Lightning have agreed on a six-year contract extension that is reportedly worth $34.8 million in total. The $5.8 million average annual value that Callahan receives with this deal makes him the highest-paid player on the Lightning not named Steven Stamkos.

“I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the next six years and I am excited for this new chapter of my career,” Callahan said. “Tampa Bay has been a great place to live and play from the day I got there. As soon as the season ended I knew it was a place I wanted to be.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline back in March, sending captain Martin St. Louis to New York in exchange for then-Rangers captain and right wing Callahan. Not only did the Lightning keep Callahan in Tampa, they also acquired New York’s first-round draft pick (28th overall) at this Friday’s NHL Draft.

A native of Rochester, NY, Callahan posted 36 points (17+19) in 65 games with New York and Tampa Bay last season. In 470 career NHL games, Callahan has totaled 138 goals and 127 assists.

Callahan was the Rangers’ captain for almost three seasons before being traded to the Lightning. While Steven Stamkos is cemented as the captain and central figure in Tampa Bay, Callahan certainly will be in consideration to be an assistant captain come this season.

While he is not an elite offensive talent, Callahan brings an element of grit and tenacity that will serve Tampa Bay well with a number of key prospects coming up through the pipeline from AHL Syracuse. This deal represents a significant raise from the $4.275 million yearly cap hit on Callahan’s last contract, but the raise is well deserved for a player of his status.

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Around the Rink Assistant Site Manager Joe Ray – @jpray_SK

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