Lightning sign Callahan to six-year deal

Erik Erlandsson of the Tampa Tribune was surprised that Ryan Callahan decided against testing the free agent market, instead signed with Tampa for less than he was asking from the Rangers.

Ryan Callahan has signed a six-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the club announced on Wednesday.

“We are pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement on a six-year contract extension with Ryan,” vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman said in a press release. “He’s proven to be a fierce competitor and outstanding leader who fits very well with our team.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the next six years and I am excited for this new chapter of my career,” Callahan said. “Tampa Bay has been a great place to live and play from the day I got there. As soon as the season ended I knew it was a place I wanted to be.”

Callahan earned $4.825-million last season. The former New York Rangers captain was dealt to Tampa at the trade deadline after failing to negotiate an extension that would have kept him in Manhattan.

He put up 11 points in 20 regular-season for the Lightning, bringing his total to 36 points in 65 games on the year.

Tampa will send a second-round draft pick to the Rangers to finalize the trade. The Lightning also received two first-round picks in the deal and sent former captain Marty St. Louis the other way.

In 470 career games for Tampa and New York, Callahan has 138 goals and 265 points.

–With files from Sportsnet staff