ryan callahan 2

Callahan, A Good And Great Man

As we wrap up August, the Rangers created a little bit of excitement yesterday by signing free agent LW/C Tim Kennedy. While Kennedy is likely to compete for a spot on the third or fourth line, he’s unlikely to affect the prospects of the subject of today’s Ranger Countdown – Ryan Callahan.

Callahan goes into this season looking to turn his offense up after plateauing last season. The regular fan favorite recorded 19 goals last season, after setting a high of 22 the year before. This year he’ll be looking to go back over the 20 goal mark, and the hope is that the Rangers can find him some help to get him there.

Player Profile
A fourth round draft pick in 2004, Ryan Callahan wasn’t ever a lock to make it to the NHL. The Rochester native didn’t let his draft position determine his outcome however, and continued to impress both at the World Juniors as part of the US team, and for the Guelph Storm where he put up 52 goals in his final season.

After completing his commitment to the OHL, Callahan joined the Wolf Pack and quickly showed that he had the ability to compete, picking up 35 goals in his rookie AHL season and earning an AHL All-Star selection as well as a call up to the NHL.

Since his call-up to the Rangers, Callahan has gone on to become a reliable second line wing, who not only can score some goals, but also can play defensively and on the PK. Last season he added power play success to his resume, converting for nine goals to finish second on the team behind Marian Gaborik.

While Callahan improved his credentials on the man advantage, his offense at even strength dropped off, recording just ten even strength goals versus nineteen from the season before.

Going into camp last year, Callahan was primed to take his offense to the next level, having finished the previous year with nine goals in twenty two games after John Tortorella took over from Tom Renney. Except for a ten game stint in late November and early December, where he picked up seven goals, his offense never really seemed to get on track.

And while plus/minus is a difficult statistic to evaluate, it should be noted that Callahan was a -12, the first time he has been a negative player in his career to date.

Going into camp, Callahan is almost assured of a spot on opening night. The hope is that he hasn’t already peaked, and that he can show us more of what we saw to end the 2008-09 season.

2009-10 Statistics
Team: New York Rangers (NHL)
Stats: 19 goals, 18 assists and 48 penalty minutes in 77 games

Prediction
Team: New York Rangers
Stats: 20 goals, 20 assists and 50 penalty minutes in 75 games

Fun Fact
Ryan Callahan became engaged in January of last year to his girlfriend of eight years.

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