Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/19/14

NEW YORK - MARCH 30: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates assisting team mate Ryan Callahan's goal against the New Jersey Devils during their game on March 30, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

This, along with that of Henrik Lundqvist, will be the easiest of the player reviews to write. 

Ryan Callahan had a breakout year with the New York Rangers during the 2010-11 season, reaching career highs in all statistical categories and really making a name for himself League-wide. I remember writing an article back on December 14 of 2010 on Callahan becoming the epitome of what it meant to be a Broadway Blueshirt, between the work ethic, leadership and how he presented himself on and off the ice. For this reason, it was a no-brainer for head coach John Tortorella to name Callahan the new captain of this storied franchise at the announcement of Chris Drury's retirement from the game of hockey last summer.

Cally did not disappoint in his first season with the 'C'.

The Good: The list goes on and on here, but first and foremost, Callahan managed to top his stats from the previously mentioned breakout year, recording a career-high 29 goals and 54 points in 2011-12. Everyone was aware of the blue-collar effort that Callahan brought to this club, but many questioned his offensive ability and just what exactly would be his ceiling as far as production went. Based on this trend, however, there is no ceiling for the 27-year-old out of Rochester, New York, and obviously his objective for next season will be to reach the 30-goal plateau. 

And these aren't just meaningless goals that Captain Cally is scoring, either. Ryan was ranked fourth in the entire NHL in game-winning goals for the 2011-12 season with nine. Those are captain-like numbers right there, proving that he is someone who can always be counted on to step up in crucial situations to earn his team two points. Sound familiar, Mark Messier fans?

Then, of course, there are Ryan's efforts that do not show up on the scoresheet. These include blocked shots (does anyone do it better?), penalty-killing, forechecking, net presence on the powerplay, defensive reliability - really, the list is endless. Ryan Callahan is about as rounded of a player as any team will get, which is why any coach would kill to have him on their roster. He is the heart and soul of this team, without a doubt. 

It's also worth mentioning that Callahan is a candidate for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which will be presented by Mark himself at the awards show in Las Vegas in a few weeks. 

The Bad: Normally, I could pick out something bad about any player, but I'm really struggling here with Callahan. The only thing that comes to mind is that he was rather quiet in the postseason. I think everyone can agree that more was expected of Ryan during the playoffs, but then again, it's still unknown whether or not he was dealing with some sort of injury during that time. I personally think he was, but typical Callahan, he would not admit it in fear of making any excuses. 

Highlight of the Year:


Overall Assessment: What more is there to say? Ryan Callahan is the closest to Mark Messier in terms of players born to be captain of the New York Rangers, and in his first season wearing the 'C', not only did the pressure not get to him, it motivated him to bring his game to yet another level. This guy is an incredible hockey player and an even more amazing teammate. Aside from Henrik Lundqvist, he is the team's MVP. 

Report Card Grade: A

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