Marc Staal’s contract situation is becoming a growing concern
Marc Staal will become an unrestricted at the end of this season if the Rangers do not extend his contract. However, there have been very little in terms of talks between Staal’s camp and the Rangers.
Staal is 27, three years younger than Dan Girardi who last year signed a six year $5.5 million deal. The Rangers are believed to be offering Staal a similar deal. However, Staal is believed to be seeking $6 million plus per on a 6 or 7-year deal. The risk the Rangers take by not signing him is that he could certainly get this deal elsewhere if he continues to remain healthy.
Staal’s agent, Paul Krepelka has not set a deadline in terms of getting a deal done. That’s probably a calculated move considering how Glen Sather doesn’t take well to demands. Don’t believe me? See Ryan Callahan down in Tampa Bay, just to highlight the obvious.
At this point all Staal can really do is play his best to try and secure a deal with the Rangers or another team if talks fall through. However, Glen Sather’s track record suggests that if a deal isn’t signed or very close by the NHL trade deadline (3/2/15), Staal will be moved.
The loss could cripple the Rangers well beyond this season. Marc Staal is not only an alternate captain, but also is third in seniority in years of service behind Lundqvist and Girardi, who joined the team before him.
At look down in Hartford shows that aside from Conor Allen, no defenseman prospect looks ready to step into a serious role. And as good as Allen has looked in his brief stints in NY, he doesn’t look ready to play Staal’s 20 plus minutes against the Sidney Crosby’s of the league either.
This year, Staal has been averaging 22:59 minutes per game and is plus 3. His play has been a bit of a rollercoaster, great in some games and poor in others. This is not out of correlation with the team as a whole. Staal only has 3 assists and 25 shots this season. He has been on the ice for 19 goals for the Rangers and 20 goals against.
With that being said, it would not be a smart move for the Rangers to give up Staal. There is no one really in sight that would be able to fill the void that he would leave. The Blueshirts have had their fair share of defensive struggles this season and add the loss of Staal (when he is playing his best), it would be hard for the Rangers to continue to be a serious Stanley Cup contender. He has stepped up in the absence of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle who have both missed several games due to injuries.
While Marc Staal has been a polarizing topic with a few Rangers’ fans, Rick Carpiniello of the LoHud Journal recently tweeted this out to a fan who felt Staal’s contributions were being overstated.
@ScottyHockey @MannyOWar LOL, Kreider. Ask Staal’s teammates, coaches, opponents how good he was in the playoffs.
— Rick Carpiniello (@rangersreport) December 3, 2014
Although players may not admit that their contracts are on their mind and affecting their play, it definitely weighs on them. His level of play throughout this season and his ability to stay healthy (which has struggled with in the past) could very well determine the amount the Rangers offer him.
A step back and a look at the Rangers future on defense suggests that he must be re-signed.