Mar 10, 2014, 10:44 AM EST
“For me, the contract situation is definitely something I would like to take care of over the summer,” Staal told the New York Post. “That’s the goal, but that also has to be the way management looks at it, too, in order to get it done.”
Staal, 27, has one year remaining on his current five-year, $19.875 million deal and will be a UFA when it expires. The lure of free agency will be high for Staal, especially with the opportunity to join brothers Eric, Jordan and Jared in the Carolina organization sitting on the horizon.
That said, it’s not something Staal really wants to go through.
He saw first-hand this year the toll contract uncertainty took on Girardi — who was eventually resigned — and ex-captain Ryan Callahan, who was flipped to Tampa Bay in exchange for Martin St. Louis. The pair learned that Rangers GM Glen Sather is no easy man to negotiate with, often keen to utilize deadlines and important dates to his advantage in contract negotiations. (Sather also did this with Michael Del Zotto last season.)
Sather also took his time with the Henrik Lundqvist extension, waiting until this season to get a new deal done.
Staal, who the Post figures to earn somewhere between $5.5-$6 million annually on his next deal, wants no part of the rumor mill that engulfed Girardi and Callahan over the last month.
“I saw those two guys go through it with the negotiations and all of the rumors that are impossible to avoid if you’re on the last year of your contract, and it’s not something I really want to go through,” Staal said. “You can say all you want that it’s not on your mind and it’s not a distraction, but it’s something that has to weigh on you.”
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