Buried within a great piece yesterday on Rangers legend Brian Leetch discussing his time as Rangers captain and offering his thoughts on why Ryan McDonagh makes sense as the next potential man to where the ‘C’ on a Broadway Blueshirt, Katie Strang of ESPN offered up a nugget regarding the status of contract talks between defenseman Marc Staal and the team:
Priority No. 1, of course, is signing Staal to a new extension. (His agent, Paul Krepelka, told ESPN.com via email, “all quiet on that front right now.”) Although Staal has been hampered by a string of serious injuries in recent years, he returned to form with a strong performance in the 2014 playoffs.
Leetch really likes what Staal brings to the Rangers defense and wants him to remain healthy because he believes in his abilities.
“My fingers are always crossed that Marc can stay healthy because he’s on the verge of getting to that next level. Obviously, that’s my hope for him, and I think he’s an elite player with the ability to be a top D in the league if he can continue to play and get those reps.”
Staal, 27, is entering the final year of a five-year, $19.875 million dollar deal. About to enter the prime years of his career, Staal will be looking for another long-term contract perhaps looking at fellow blueliner Ryan McDonagh’s deal as a comparable.
I can’t say I’m alarmed or surprised at this small bit of news. It’s not a priority at the moment to get a deal done, but one will get done at the right time.
Ideally, Staal gets an extension done before the season starts and there are no headaches a la Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles early last season. But with the current salary-cap crunch, a deal may not get done until mid-season.
Thanks for reading! Follow on Twitter @TheWrage. E-mail: Jwrabel9@hotmail.com