Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lightning Card of the Week - Ryan Callahan 2015-16 MVP Green Parallel

2015-16 Upper Deck MVP Green Parallel Ryan Callahan

Welcome back to a semi-regular series on The Hopeful Chase – the Lightning Card of the Week. For this week it's everyone's favorite check-throwing forward, Ryan Callahan.

Callahan made the news yesterday when it was noted that he had successful surgery to repair a labral tear in his left hip. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, the well-paid forward had been struggling with the injury for most of the second half of the season and the playoffs.

After five minutes of research on labral hip surgery I feel a little better about his recovery and this not being the degenerative type of hip issues that has sidelined Bo Jackson and Albert Belle. As a fan I don't like hearing a player that is having issues with their hips, their backs or their feet. Those are three problem areas that never seem to get better.

However, it seems like this surgery involves repairing cartilage around the hip area. With a rehab time frame of 4-5 months Callahan should be back on the ice sometime around November. Will he be able to continue to play the same type of crash test dummy, aggressive forechecking style that fans love? That is the big question.

While the condition itself isn't anymore degenerative than pulling a hamstring or breaking a leg, it is something that can reoccur if you keep smashing your hip into other players and the boards. Think of a pitcher who tears the labrum in his shoulder. Surgery fixes it, but the very act of throwing a baseball could lead to it tearing again. The very act of Ryan Callahan being Ryan Callahan could lead to him doing more damage to his hip.

With him under contract for another four seasons that could be a bit of concern for Lightning fans. If Callahan can't play his style of hockey, is he any good for the team? He has been surprisingly durable for the Lightning having played in more than 70 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008-09 and 2009-10. He did chip in 24 goals in 2014-15, but fell off scoring only 10 last season. Of course, playing with a painful hip could be a reason he had the lowest goal output of his NHL career.

I think he can find a role with the team as a defensive forward who chips in 15-20 goals a year while slowing down the opposition's top line. I don't think he can ever stop being who he is and it will lead to more injuries along the same lines as his hip issue. That was one of the drawbacks of the long term, big-money deal he signed. When you have a player that throws his body around the ice game in and game out there is a chance the damage is going to catch up with him and cause his career to crater quickly.

The green parallel of last year's MVP set are available online only. Through Upper Deck's e-pack site you can purchase or trade packs of MVP cards. If you acquire 20 of one particular card you can merge them together for the exclusive green parallel. So far I've been able to trade for Callahan and Ben Bishop. I just had them sent to me and they do look pretty nice in person.

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