Now that the Rangers have avoided arbitration with their big three restricted free agents and John Moore is likely to be back in the fold sooner rather than later, it’s time to focus on next year’s unrestricted free agents, namely Marc Staal.
Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that up until this point Glen Sather has not reached out to the 28-year old defenseman regarding a possible extension. Here’s Staal’s agent on the latest…
“There’s been no discussion at all, but I did get a call from [Assistant GM Jeff Gorton] early in the offseason telling me that they were working on their arbitration cases, so not to interpret it as a sign of disrespect toward Marc,” agent Paul Krepelka said. “I expect that we will be talking at some point before training camp.
“Marc’s objective is to sign a long-term deal with the Rangers, and he would like to get it done before the season starts. That hasn’t changed.
“But we’ll see.”
Brooks adds that Staal, who would like to get a new deal done before the start of the season, will likely get at minimum Dan Girardi’s deal of $33 million over six years.
…with Subban getting an eight-year, $72 million ($9M per) contract yesterday, who knows what the hell Staal will be worth on the open market. If Staal is willing to accept the Girardi deal, I’d hope Sather would lock him up immediately because the price of defensemen is getting insane (see Brooks Orpik’s five-year, $27.5M deal).
…if Staal decides to pull a Callahan, Sather might be put in the situation of moving a popular home grown player for the second straight season. Despite the expected cap increase in 2015-16, the Rangers will have another critical offseason next summer filled with key free agents, both UFA (St. Louis, Zuccarello & Stempniak) and RFA (Stepan & Hagelin), so Sather has to be willing to walk away from Staal if necessary. Based on this year’s salary cap of $69M the Rangers are expected to have $23,875,000 of cap space available to re-sign all their free agents. Which might be tight.
…my hope is if Staal proves to be too costly, Sather moves him immediately. Nothing worse than having a player competing with the distraction of a contract dispute. Just look at Lundqvist before and after he signed his extension last December. He was like two different goaltenders.
…if Staal ends up starting the season without a new contract, a big factor in deciding his fate could be the development of Allen and McIlrath. If they prove to be NHL ready during training camp, Staal could become that much more expendable. Especially with Brady Skjei on the way as well.
…tough to say what Sather might fetch in return for a player in the final year of his contract who has a history of serious concussions as well as compromised vision. He might not be as easy to move as some might think. Although, his play last season (especially in the playoffs) should ease any concerns about his eye sight.