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Lightning Round: Ryan Callahan officially announced his retirement

The Syracuse Crunch are expected to make a decision about their participation in next season within a few days

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Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan announced his retirement from hockey. After spending the previous season on long-term injured reserve due to degenerative back disease, Callahan made his retirement official.

Callahan, who was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in 2004 and spent eight seasons with them, was traded to the Lightning at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Martin St. Louis. After recording 11 points in 20 regular season games with the Lightning, Callahan signed a six-year extension, worth $5.8M per season. Over the next five seasons Callahan was an important part of the team, scoring 132 (54+78) points in 307 regular season games and 15 (6+9) points in 62 playoff games with the Lightning. Since the 2014-15 season, Callahan served as an alternate captain for the Bolts. He was part of the core of the Lightning team which reached the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference finals in 2016 and 2018.

Unfortunately in the late years of his career, Callahan dealt with many injuries. In 2016 he underwent surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip. Callahan, who was initially supposed to miss around five months due to this injury, ended up missing almost the whole season, appearing in just 18 regular season games during the 2016-17 season. Before the 2019-20 season Callahan was diagnosed with degenerative back disease, which basically ended his professional career. Callahan was placed on long-term injured reserved and shortly after traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for goaltender Mike Condon and a 2020 sixth-round pick.

Even after his retirement Ryan Callahan remains a part of Tampa Bay community. His foundation, which was named after him – Ryan Callahan Foundation, raises money for families of pediatric cancer patients. Previously Callahan organised a suite for kids at Lightning home games and is hoping to return with another fundraising event when the epidemiological situation will allow it.

Joe Smith of the Athletic wrote a piece about the former Lightning alternate captain, his impact on the team, and future plans [The Athletic, paid content]

“Watching it, I did feel like I had a little part in it,” Callahan told The Athletic. “A very, very small part. It’s hard to watch as well. That was my ultimate goal — to win the Stanley Cup. I came close a couple times, but you feel like you’re missing out a little bit. But I was just so excited for those guys because I know how close we were for so many years. We could have won it previously.

“You know how bad they wanted it. You know how disappointing it was all those years. So to see them climb that hill, it was awesome to see.”

Lightning Links

Reportedly Nikita Kucherov underwent surgery on his right hip last Tuesday. The Russian forward is expected to miss the whole next regular season and possibly return for the playoffs.

Another former Lightning player, Dan Girardi, has been hired as a development coach by the Buffalo Sabres.

The Syracuse Crunch goaltender Spencer Martin presented his new mask with names of some season ticket holders on it.

Meanwhile, the Syracuse Crunch have yet to decide if they’re participating in the next season

The Orlando Solar Bears defeated the Florida Everblades 7-4 in yesterday’s game.

Around the Hockey

The most shocking news of the previous day – Zdeno Chara signed a one-year, $795,000 contract with the Washington Capitals.

The AHL Board of Governors approved the framework for the next AHL season

Derick Brassard has signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes