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The Relatively Easy Part of the Rangers’ Summer Is Over

Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers.

Once the Rangers made their big splash at the beginning of unrestricted free-agency season, they turned their attention to locking up their handful of restricted free agents. Artem Anisimov and Michael Sauer agreed to deals in the days that followed, and yesterday Brian Boyle — one of the great surprises of last season — agreed to a three-year contract worth $1.7 million a year. Now comes the slightly more difficult part: reaching deals with Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Dubinsky is two years away from unrestricted free agency, so the Rangers could elect a two-year arbitration award if it comes to that. But Callahan is a Group II free agent as well, and he could hit the open market next July 1 if the two sides can't agree on a long-term deal. (He has an arbitration hearing set for July 28, at which he can only receive a one-year award.) It's hard to imagine that the Rangers wouldn't be able to lock down Callahan — this is the man, after all, whom they're likely to name captain before the beginning of next season — but arriving at a fair dollar figure (maybe something in the range of $4 million to $5 million per year) should nonetheless keep Glen Sather occupied in the coming weeks. For the record, Callahan's agent says he hasn't had extensive talks with Sather lately, but that he isn't much troubled by that, since Callahan's arbitration hearing is scheduled for a week after Dubinsky's. Said Callahan's agent: "They probably have to deal with the earlier date. I figure they'll concentrate on Dubinsky first." [NYP, ESPN, NorthJersey.com]

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images