Former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan says he never thought he would get traded.
“Yeah, I wanted to stay there. I thought I was going to. The whole time in my head I never thought about getting traded or leaving at free agency time,” Callahan said to New York’s WFAN Radio on Wednesday. “My goal was to get something done with New York. Unfortunately, it’s the part of the business that’s not fun.”
Callahan was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. louis.
Callahan was hoping to sign a six-year deal worth $6.5 million annually with the Rangers, but New York wouldn’t go any higher than $6 million per season.
“We knew this was a possibility if both sides didn’t agree on something,” Callahan said. “At the end of the day we couldn’t find something that both sides liked. We knew this could happen. We have no bad feelings toward the Rangers organization, or anybody there. It’s an unfortunate part of the business and you have to move on now.”
The 28-year-old forward, who played eight seasons in New York, says he’s open to re-signing with the Lightning.
“I’m coming in with an open mind. Like I said the team here has been great with me and said, ‘You know what? Get used to us, we’ll get used to you. We can talk at a later date.,’” Callahan said. “I’m just worried right now about trying to play. It’s kind of a breath of fresh air, where the trade talk and the contract talks are all done with now. Just get a chance to play and compete.”