Rangers' Marc Staal is hoping for another team to extend an offer sheet


Thumbnail image for marcstaalrfa.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what the news is with New York Rangers restricted free agent defenseman Marc Staal, you’re not alone. Discussions have been quiet to the point of worry for many Rangers fans and it appears that Staal is now getting a bit unnerved with the lack of negotiations coming from GM Glen Sather. Staal is so frustrated with things that, according to Arthur Staple of New York Newsday, he’s hoping that another team will step in and sign him to an offer sheet.

While we’ve seen how the offer sheet can be used already this summer with Niklas Hjalmarsson being signed to one by the Sharks only to have the Blackhawks match it, the Rangers could be put in a similar situation by a team looking to acquire him. Thanks to CapGeek, we see that the Rangers are nearly $2 million over the salary cap and while rumors abound that defenseman Wade Redden will be sent packing to the AHL to free up room against the cap, Staal is still going to demand big bucks. He’s going to be 24 years-old in January and he’s going into his fourth NHL season as perhaps the best defenseman on the Rangers and one of the better ones in the NHL.

The Rangers say they’ll match any offer, but the longer the Rangers put off signing Staal, the more they’re letting another team potentially control their destiny as far as what they might have to do with their roster. If that’s a position Glen Sather is comfortable with, then kudos to him for being prepared for it. If another team itchy to add a great, young defenseman and has money to burn steps up though, you have to wonder just how prepared the Rangers are for that. After all, if I was Glen Sather, I’d be nervous knowing that Charles Wang is right down the road.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?