Report: Rangers closing in on six-year extension with Marc Staal

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The New York Rangers have some key free agent decisions to make after this season, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that they’re already making progress toward signing Marc Staal to a contract extension.

To be more specific, Brooks passes along word that it would be a six-year deal worth somewhere between $5.6 million per season ($33.6 million overall) or as much as $5.9 million ($35.4 million).

A well-placed source said there had been “a productive meeting” here on Wednesday between assistant general manager Jeff Gorton and Staal’s representative, Paul Krepelka.

Such figures show a little bit of progress from what was reported in September, as it was believed the Rangers were offering Dan Girardi money ($33 million) while Staal, 28, was asking for a seven-year deal worth at least $42 million overall.

(ESPN’s Craig Custance backs up Brooks’ report that a six-year extension seems to be in the works.)

Girardi currently carries the Rangers’ highest cap hit among defensemen at $5.5 million, while rising star Ryan McDonagh’s mark is $4.7 million. Even in Staal’s low-end range according to that report, he’d be the third-highest paid Rangers player (cap hit-wise) in 2015-16 behind Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5 million) and Rick Nash ($7.8 million).

ESPN’s Katie Strang indicates that Staal would receive a full no-movement clause, while her colleague Pierre LeBrun gives a few more details:

Staal ranks third on the Rangers in ice time per game with 22:03 behind Girardi (23:26) and McDonagh (22:58). His possession numbers have sagged a bit since a strong turnaround in 2013-14, yet Brooks notes that the Rangers have been especially happy with Staal’s defensive work lately. He has seven points in 41 games this season.

Staal is far from the only relevant pending free agent on the team, as Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello rank as the Rangers’ most prominent UFAs while Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin are the leading RFAs on the squad.