This should not come as any shock, but according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and his agent are looking for a long-term deal. Staal is an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming NHL season and would like a long-term extension to stay a member of the Rangers.
Sounds good, but there are a few problems with this, however. For one, the Rangers and Staal have not even begun to negotiate a new contract. And two, the Rangers may not want to extend Staal beyond this year anyway.
Staal has been a fixture on the Rangers’ blueline ever since his rookie season back in 2007-08, and until Ryan McDonagh came along, was the best defenseman on the Rangers’ roster. Unfortunately, though, times have changed.
Over the past three seasons, Staal has been a shell of his former self, playing in only 139 out of the last 212 regular season games. From concussion problems to a horrific eye injury, Staal is not the same shutdown defenseman he once was.
In a long-term extension, Staal will be looking for a five- or six-year deal worth around $5.5 million per year, or basically the same contract the Rangers gave defenseman Dan Girardi mid-season last year.
The fact of the matter is with three of the Rangers’ starting six defensemen making $4.5 million or more per year (McDonagh, Girardi and Dan Boyle), there is no way the Rangers can take on a fourth defenseman at that price, especially with the Rangers’ lack of depth at the center position.
The only way Staal can possibly stay a Ranger is if he either takes a hometown discount or some trade is made during this upcoming season to free up cap space. Other than that, this will most likely be Staal’s farewell season as a member of the Rangers.