The Rangers faced a big question upon acquiring Martin St. Louis last season:
How long are we getting him for?
The Blueshirts knew St. Louis was under contract through 2015 but, given the hefty price paid — captain Ryan Callahan, a first- and second-round pick — there was reason to suggest a year-and-a-bit of St. Louis’ services didn’t equal what was given away.
So, good news on that front Tuesday — the 39-year-old said he has zero intention to stop playing after this year.
“I feel good physically,” St. Louis told the Daily News. “The last four or five years, it’s like people have been waiting for me to slow down. But the thing is, I had a bad season here or there when I was 30, 31, but it’s not because I was old. It just wasn’t a good season.
“When I physically don’t feel like I can do the things I want to do, I think then will be the time,” St. Louis said of retirement. “But I don’t know when that time’s gonna be.
“It’s definitely not now.”
St. Louis turns 40 in June but has shown zero signs of slowing down. He has 20 points in 24 games — second on the team in scoring — and is averaging 18:34 TOI per game, which is tops among Ranger forwards.
Which brings us to the topic of a new contract.
St. Louis told the Daily News he’s yet to discuss a deal with the Rangers. His last two pacts have carried similar cap hits — $5.25 million annually on the one from 2005-11, $5.625M annually on the current deal — and the Rangers project to have some fiscal freedom moving forward, especially after getting out from under Brad Richards’ contract.
While there are other key deals to get done this summer — UFAs Mats Zuccarello and Marc Staal, RFAs Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and John Moore — St. Louis sounds like a guy that’s committed to returning to the Big Apple no matter the circumstances.
“This is definitely the place I want to play,” St. Louis said. “There’s no doubt.”