Marc Staal has given the New York Rangers some good news: He wants to re-sign over the summer. After the contract distractions that occurred for teammates Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan, Staal wants to negotiate and sign his contract before the final year of his current deal begins. This is great for both the Rangers and Staal as it provides mutual benefits.
For the Rangers, it stabilizes the top four defensemen of the team. Alongside Girardi, Staal will be signed long-term with Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein. With the emergence of McDonagh as one of the league’s best defensemen, this is amongst the most reliable team defenses in the league. Not many teams can boast as good of a group of defensemen as the Rangers have been able to over the past three years. Staal is the longest tenured blueliner of the group. He has been a member of the Rangers since 2007, starting as a rookie only two years after being a first-round pick for the team. While never an offensive force, Staal is a reliable player in his own zone as he plays with a physical edge and uses his stick to break up passes and block shots.
For Staal, signing an extension in the summer allows him not to worry about his future. He cites his teammates this season as reasons he doesn’t want to let negotiations drag along. Lundqvist and Girardi both were holding contract talks during the season. When Lundqvist signed his seven-year extension, his play dipped. He was not at his normally elite level of play which was a major factor in the slow start for the Rangers. Girardi was on the verge of being traded before he signed his extension at the NHL‘s trade deadline. Callahan’s contract status forced the team to trade him away the same day that Girardi signed. Callahan and the team could not come to an agreement while rumors constantly persisted. He had his most lackluster season as a Ranger leading up to his trade, and Staal will surely wish to avoid this as well.
Signing an extension diminishes the trade rumors that always follow talented players who are pending free agents. If Staal signs an extension before next season, both he and the team will avoid the headaches associated with having core pieces with uncertain futures. It gives Glen Sather and the rest of the management team a better idea of what the future holds regarding the roster and salary cap. It also gives Staal piece of mind so he can go out and do what he does best — play hockey.