Marc Staal’s deal is right for today, tomorrow and beyond
At some point today or tomorrow, Glen Sather and the NY Rangers will announce the 6 year extension for defenseman, Marc Staal. It is a deal rumored to come with a cap hit of $5.7 million, a no move clause for the first 3 years and limited no trade in the last 3.
The deal is in essence a hometown discount for a player who wanted to stay in NY. Per the man that broke this story, Larry Brooks, Staal said:
“This is where I want to be. It’s been the goal the whole time,” Staal said following the Blueshirts’ 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets in which the defenseman scored the first goal. “It’s very close.”
Alain Vigneault was extremely happy to hear the news, calling Marc “one of the best defenders in the league.” More importantly to the head coach, his top three defensemen are solidified for the next several seasons.
“I wanted to get it done early, but with the cap it’s not easy to make decisions about salaries and what to do moving forward,” Staal explained. However, when you look at the Rangers defense for the next 4-6 years, you see some seriously cap friendly contracts.
The Rangers top defense pairing of Dan Girardi ($5.5) and Ryan McDonagh ($4.7) are locked up to 2020 and 2019 respectively. Highly underrated defenseman Kevin Klein ($2.9) is signed through 2018. Add in Marc Staal’s new deal that takes him to 2021 and the Blueshirts have a Stanley Cup contending defense for years to come.
A quick glance at some of the contracts out there make you really appreciate what the Rangers have done here in the cap era. I mean seriously, Ryan Suter at $7.5 or Kris Letang at $7.25? Or how about Dion Phaneuf at $7 or Alex Pietrangelo at $6.5! All are better offensive players than Staal. Yet, I wouldn’t trust anyone but Suter to shut down a Sidney Crosby or an Alex Ovechkin.
Still, those are top defenseman for their respective teams and Marc is #3 on the Rangers depth chart. This past offseason, the Washington Capitals signed 2 UFA defenders from Pittsburgh, Brooks Orpik ($5.5) and Matt Niskanen ($5.75). Both are more suitable comparables to Staal and each received UFA money. If Staal had hit the open market, he would’ve been given offers from over half the league. His contract would’ve likely exceeded $6.5 easily.
Of course, you have the critics saying the Rangers overpaid for a soft defenseman with a bad eye and concussion history. Ask Sidney Crosby just how soft he thinks Marc Staal is after being utterly shut down in last year’s semi-finals matchup.
What we need to take into consideration is Dan Boyle will be gone after next season, likely to retirement. Matt Hunwick is also set to be a UFA this summer and may demand double the 600K he’s making now. John Moore is also a restricted free agent and will be in line for an increase from his current 850K deal. Meaning, that the Rangers may have a hole or two to fill next year for their 6th and possibly 7th defenseman.
Conor Allen may be the only defensive prospect ready to make the leap to the NHL next season. If they would’ve let Staal walk away or say trade him at the deadline, just who do you think you could get to fill in another spot.
We’ve learned that Dylan McIlrath can punch with anyone but probably couldn’t keep up with the slowest of NHL skaters. We also know that Brady Skjei opted to return to Minnesota for one more year of development instead of turning pro this past summer. Do you think he’s just going to jump from the NCAA to the NHL? The answer is no, Gordie Clark wants to see him in the AHL first.
Bottom line, this was the absolute right move for the Rangers today and tomorrow. When Boyle is set to retire, it is likely Brady Skjei maybe ready to join the Rangers blue-line or Conor Allen raises his game. For now, the Rangers have their sights firmly set on a Stanley Cup, not just for this year but years after.
Marc Staal is exactly the right fit today, tomorrow and beyond.