Callahan, Lightning still talking contract extension
The Lightning and veteran wing Ryan Callahan have contined talks about a potential contract extension.
Though the discussions have been good, nothing is imminent.
Callahan, 29, acquired in the blockbuster Marty St. Louis trade to the Rangers in March, is one of Tampa Bay's bigger priorities this summer. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, though both Callahan and the Lightning have been interested in a long-term reunion.
Callahan enjoyed his time with the Lightning, liking the organization, his teammates and the area. While he is expected to test the waters in free agency in July, the fact that both sides continue talks are good signs he would be open to signing with Tampa Bay before that.
The Lightning love the type of player Callahan is, the grit and toughness he provides. He had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 20 games with Tampa Bay, though admittedly didn't play up to his standards in the playoffs. Coach Jon Cooper says as long as he's on the bench for the Lightning, he wants Callahan on his team.
The key issue will be the terms. With the style Callahan plays comes risk of injury, and he's had his share, which could give a team pause in giving him a lot of years. It's unclear if Callahan would be asking for the same six-year $39 million he reportedly wanted from the Rangers earlier this year. The fact Florida has no state taxes is a positive.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and Callahan's agent, Steve Bartlett, have had a couple good chats in the past month, and caught up last week at the scouting combine in Toronto.
If they can't come to a deal before July 1, that doesn't mean the Lightning will be out of the running. It just means they'll likely have a few more bidders to deal with.