Last season, the New York Rangers saw difficult contract extension talks drag on to trade deadline time. It sounds like there will be at least a struggle or two in a similar regard in 2014-15, at least if this report by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks regarding Marc Staal is accurate.
Here’s how the diverging offers/demands differ, according to Brooks:
The Rangers are offering the same six-year, $33 million extension they gave Dan Girardi. To save you the math, that’s a $5.5 million cap hit.
Staal’s camp wants something bigger. Brooks reports that he wants a six or seven-year deal worth at least $6 million per season, which would translate to at least $36 million or $42 million depending upon the duration.
The 27-year-old’s five-year, $19.875 million deal ($3.975 million per year) will expire after the 2014-15 season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent if he can’t come to a compromise with the Rangers, and one can imagine Staal getting the type of contract he’s asking on the free market.
Really, it might be best for Staal to show that he can stay healthy through one more season. He managed to play 72 games in 2013-14, and with a little more time removed from a gruesome eye injury, really rebounded as far as his defensive play was concerned. He put up nice possession stats during the regular season despite substantial assignments and then stayed afloat despite an especially tough haul in the postseason (36.8 percent of his shifts began in the offensive zone, an extremely low number).
Cap Geek estimates that the Rangers will have $52.3 in payroll and $45.13 million in cap space devoted to just 11 players in 2015-16 as of this writing, with significant players like Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin joining Staal as free agents.
That shapes up to be a lot of work for Rangers GM Glen Sather and the rest of the Rangers’ front office. Still, if there’s any on-ice truth to the notion that “greed is good” in the NHL, then there should be plenty of motivated players once again next season.
The Rangers and Staal might prefer to get that situation squared away, though.