Column: Personnel decisions looming for New York teams
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 22:02
The lights are always bright in the city that never sleeps.
New York sports are always under a microscope. The press is vicious, the fans are rabid and the pressure is high.
This past weekend’s Super Bowl brought a new level attention to The Big Apple. However, the gridiron isn’t the only place making headlines in the city.
New York’s resident hockey teams are making waves as well, as both the Rangers and Islanders are reportedly considering big moves in the near future.
The Rangers, who currently find themselves in second in the Metropolitan Division, are currently in contract negotiations with Ryan Callahan, and rumors have been swirling of the Blueshirts dealing their captain if negotiations go south.
The Rangers reportedly allowed Callahan’s representatives to speak to teams about acquiring the 28-year-old forward, although speculation has cooled on the Rangers dealing a player that many see as their heart and soul.
Despite moving away from the toughness and grit that has defined the team over previous seasons, Callahan is still a player that can contribute to the newly technical and precise Rangers, as the right winger is seen as valuable enough to earn a call up to the USA’s Olympic squad.
However, if Callahan’s contract negotiations fizzle out, the Blueshirts may be left with no option other than to try and cash in on their captain.
The Rangers cross-town rivals, the Islanders, are also dealing with personnel issues of their own, as the Isles have been backed into a corner by star Thomas Vanek.
Vanek, who was acquired via a trade with Buffalo just this season, turned down a long-term deal from the Islanders and declared his intentions to test the market when his contract expires this summer.
The Islanders have been left with little choice other than dealing the 30-year-old winger, even though Vanek hasn’t ruled out resigning over the summer.
Vanek would prove to be one of the NHL’s top rental players for the rest of the season, as a contender would be sure to pursue him in an effort to bolster their roster for a Stanley Cup run.
Both New York franchises are facing a tough personnel choice in the coming weeks. It’s always a fine line to walk when it comes to moving a top player, and both teams risk fan backlash if the wrong move is made.
Once again, all eyes are on New York, as the Rangers and Islanders will both have decisions to make in the next few weeks.