The New York Rangers have been forced to play without several of their most important players this season due to injuries, but the team’s biggest setback occurred on Tuesday night when captain Ryan Callahan suffered a second degree MCL sprain and will miss four-to-six weeks.
#NYR Injury Update: Ryan Callahan has a 2nd degree MCL sprain and is out 4-6 weeks— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 11, 2013
The 28-year-old winger has dealt with at least seven different injuries since the 2009-10 season, and he’s missed a total of 44 games in that span. As someone who excels playing a physical, power forward type of hockey that includes a lot of shot blocking, Callahan’s style of play puts him at a greater risk for injury than skilled players. It will be interesting to see how this injury changes his approach to the game.
From the team’s perspective, now is the worst time for the Rangers to lose a player of Callahan’s importance. New York has lost three straight games and is scoring just 2.2 goals per game, which ranks 28th among the NHL’s 30 teams. The captain ranks second on the Blueshirts in goals scored (seven), first in power-play goals (four), second in hits (70) and first among forwards in blocked shots (26). His absence from the lineup will impact New York in all three zones, and also weaken its fifth-ranked penalty kill.
The big picture concern surrounding Callahan’s latest injury is how it impacts his future with the club as a pending unrestricted free agent. The Rochester, N.Y., native has a salary cap hit of only $4.275 million for this season, and based on his exceptional two-way game and leadership qualities, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team(s) offered him a long-term deal worth $6 million or more per season in the summer (if he chooses not to re-sign with NY before July).
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