The New York Rangers and forward Benoit Pouliot have expressed interest in signing a contract extension, Pouliot’s agent, Kent Hughes, told the New York Daily News. From the article:
“‘They’re interested in re-signing him, and he’s interested in staying in New York,’ Pouliot’s agent, Kent Hughes of MFIVE Sports, told the Daily News by phone on Friday morning. ‘With the playoffs around the corner, I don’t expect things to accelerate until the season’s over. But once it is, there will be time to figure out whether there’s a deal to be done, and there is no reason to believe we won’t get something done.’”
Pouliot, 27, has 15 goals and 36 points in 79 games this season and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
As with every negotiation, the sticking point will be contract terms. The Ryan Callahan situation highlighted how mutual interest in a contract extension doesn’t automatically equate to a completed deal. That being said, “there is no reason to believe we won’t get something done,” would be a curious choice of words if Hughes and Pouliot planned on playing hardball and/or if there was a significant gap is valuations expressed during initial meetings between Pouliot and the Rangers.
After a very rough start to the season in which he had only two goals and four points in his first 27 games and found himself in the press box, Pouliot found his place on a line with Brassard and Zuccarello and hasn’t looked back. He’s had 13 goals and 32 points in the 52 games since and has a tremendous 55.2 even strength Corsi %; first on the team among forwards.
For Pouliot, a reunion makes plenty of sense as well. Though he could definitely test the market and milk a bit more money out of another team, it would be his sixth team in the last six seasons. New York is a desirable place to play to begin with, and I’m sure he’d appreciate spending a summer not having to worry about moving and getting used to a new team. He’s an ideal fit for Alain Vigneault’s system with the Rangers and, as mentioned before, has found chemistry with Brassard and Zuccarello. A multi-year contract worth $1.9-$2.25 million annually should make sense for everybody.
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