'Canes lock up Staal
The Carolina Hurricanes have locked up their franchise player, signing centre Eric Staal to a multi-year contract extension on Thursday.
The $57.75 million deal begins with the 2009-10 NHL season and extends through the 2015-16 season, paying Staal an average of $8.25 million per season.
The only players with deals at the moment that will pay them more than $8.25-million in 2009-10 are Vinny Lecavalier, Sid Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, and with all due respect to Staal's talents, he's not quite in their league*.
All four have been legitimate Hart Trophy candidates (or winners) in the three postlockout seasons.
Over that span, Staal ranks seventh in goals scored (113), 24th in assists (139), 14th in points (252) and 21st in points per game (1.02). He is minus-16 over the past three years, although that reflects Carolina's struggles more than anything.
Staal's a proven point-a-game player, but this is a deal that will see him overpaid in the first few years unless he can replicate his breakout 100-point season of 2005-06. The good news is that he is just 23 years old and that the 'Canes wisely capped the deal at seven years (avoiding insurance issues).
*- Other players in the $8-million salary range that season include better comparables: Chris Drury, Dany Heatley, Danny Briere, Scott Gomez, Jason Spezza and Brad Richards.