Staal ‘definitely’ wants new Rangers deal sorted this summer


Having seen what Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan went through this year, Marc Staal has no desire to replicate the experience.

“For me, the contract situation is definitely something I would like to take care of over the summer,” Staal told the New York Post. “That’s the goal, but that also has to be the way management looks at it, too, in order to get it done.”

Staal, 27, has one year remaining on his current five-year, $19.875 million deal and will be a UFA when it expires. The lure of free agency will be high for Staal, especially with the opportunity to join brothers Eric, Jordan and Jared in the Carolina organization sitting on the horizon.

That said, it’s not something Staal really wants to go through.

He saw first-hand this year the toll contract uncertainty took on Girardi — who was eventually resigned — and ex-captain Ryan Callahan, who was flipped to Tampa Bay in exchange for Martin St. Louis. The pair learned that Rangers GM Glen Sather is no easy man to negotiate with, often keen to utilize deadlines and important dates to his advantage in contract negotiations. (Sather also did this with Michael Del Zotto last season.)

Sather also took his time with the Henrik Lundqvist extension, waiting until this season to get a new deal done.

Staal, who the Post figures to earn somewhere between $5.5-$6 million annually on his next deal, wants no part of the rumor mill that engulfed Girardi and Callahan over the last month.

“I saw those two guys go through it with the negotiations and all of the rumors that are impossible to avoid if you’re on the last year of your contract, and it’s not something I really want to go through,” Staal said. “You can say all you want that it’s not on your mind and it’s not a distraction, but it’s something that has to weigh on you.”

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?