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2005-06 Prospect Recap: Ryan Callahan

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

RW, Guelph (OHL)

Given his performance over the past few seasons, forward Ryan Callahan appears greatly determined to become a key member of the Rangers organization in the years to come.

As a member of the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm, the Blueshirts' fourth-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft has certainly proved that he was a great value at 127th overall. Since the Rangers took him at the draft in Raleigh, N.C., Callahan has broken records while impressing scouts and fans alike.

The 2005-06 campaign was a dream season for Callahan. In 62 games with the Storm, the 21-year-old recorded 52 goals and 32 assists for 84 points and 126 penalty minutes. He netted 21 power play goals, five short-handed tallies, and was an eye-popping plus-29.

In scoring 52 times, Callahan become Guelph's third player to reach the 50-goal plateau, joining the likes of Mike Prokopec (52) and Todd Bertuzzi (54). In the process, he became Guelph's all-time leading goal scorer with 130 goals.

An overage junior player in 2005-06, Callahan joined the Storm six games into the season after getting an extended look at Rangers Training Camp. He immediately made his presence felt throughout the OHL, recording a natural hat trick (three straight goals) in the first period at Sault Ste. Marie on Oct. 7. Nine days later, he tallied a second hat trick against the Erie Otters. Overall, Callahan posted 25 regular-season multi-point games, and he added five more in the playoffs.

"What we really like about Ryan is his vision and ability to read the ice," said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. "He can read the play and see what's required both offensively and defensively. He understands the game both ways, can muster offense, is a good playmaker, and can shoot the puck hard."

Callahan led the Storm in goals, points and plus-minus rating. He also ranked fourth in the OHL in goals and won the league's Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy as the top overager. He was also recognized in the 2005-06 OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll, as he finished in the poll's top three in the categories of Smartest Player, Most Dangerous in the Goal Area and the Best Defensive Forward.

A point-per-game offensive force, Callahan demands constant attention on the ice. He possesses quick hands and a lively stick, and is elusive, creative and patient with the puck no matter the situation. "Cally" also works hard in his own end, where he is well positioned to make the quick transition from defense to offense. In addition to his on-ice smarts and scoring prowess, Callahan is a "fire and brimstone" player who plays each game with a mean streak.

Callahan was the top overage player in the OHL last season.
During Guelph's playoff run, the Storm captain took his game to another level, tallying seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points and 20 penalty minutes in 13 games. He notched three power play goals and one shorthanded goal, and again boasted an outstanding plus-minus statistic (plus-11).

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Callahan is looking forward to joining the professional ranks this season. One of the players he'll see at camp next month will be fellow OHL star Tom Pyatt, who was Callahan's teammate on the Western Conference All-Stars. Both Callahan and Pyatt scored goals in that All-Star game.

"Ryan's a terrific competitor, and he plays bigger than his stature," said Renney. "He's a very fiery competitor. He's got a long road ahead but is certainly a guy who I would not be surprised to make it one day."

-- Ricky Henne

RW Guelph (OHL regular season) 62 52 32 84 126 21 5 10
Guelph (OHL playoffs) 13 7 17 24 20 3 1 0
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