I'm not really sure we have to do a story on this. Actually, I'm nearly positive we could have done without this story. Maybe it's my OCD, but I do want to have a Keep Or Dump for every free agent, the same way we'll be doing report cards for every player. So, yeah, you're getting one.
Plus it's the weekend during the offseason. What else are you doing?
Eric Staal is basically a lock to be gone this offseason. It's all but confirmed he was brought to New York to be the final piece of a puzzle that was only half put together. It also didn't help that Staal used the word "they" when discussing the Rangers both after Game 5 and then again during breakup day. It's also pretty fair to say the Eric Staal saga on Broadway was a colossal failure -- with the lure of another Stanley Cup run once again sucking prospects and assets from the team for meager returns.
Staal was making over $8-million dollars this year, but came to the Rangers with Carolina eating 50% of his cap. Like with Keith Yandle, just because Staal was making $4.1-million in New York doesn't mean that's the bar to look at when it comes to negotiations.
As with all the Rangers decisions this summer, this one is going to come down to money. And, perhaps this story wouldn't end differently even if the Rangers had money to spare. Who knows what Staal wants to do with his future. I'm sure if things worked out he'd love to play a few more years in New York to make another Stanley Cup run -- even though Marc Staal is probably on the chopping block this summer.
That happens to be where any shred of E. Staal returning to Broadway lives: With him taking a one-year deal at a massive discount, the same way Brad Richards did with Chicago last year. The problem? Richards already made his money -- helped by the Rangers full buyout -- and didn't have a big contract to sacrifice by taking mini-deals on contenders.
At 31-years-old, this is probably Staal's last big money opportunity on the open market. Maybe he goes back to Carolina. Maybe he goes to a re-building team willing to pay for veteran leadership. Or maybe a contender has some extra cap space and thinks he can be the missing piece. Either way, there are more than a few teams who will be interested in his services, and can offer him more than the Rangers can.
If Staal wants to come back at the discount I'm sure the Rangers wouldn't turn him down. Despite his poor showing on Broadway this year, some of it can be attributed to him coming into a struggling situation and never really fitting in. That's not on him as much as it might look on the surface.
But as I said above, it appears Staal has already distanced himself from the idea of a New York return. Logically it's the right thing to do, even if he does have the Stanley Cup as his number one priority over this final contract. He could still come back, but I'd put the odds on this at about 5000-1.
And thanks to Leicester City pulling off that miracle, I don't see something like that happening again.