(Hurricanes GM Jim) Rutherford would not disclose the financial figures being discussed, but it is believed Staal could receive a seven- or eight-year contract that will pay him between $7 million and $10 million a year.
This is not something that Jim Rutherford does. Players don't get contract extensions until a few weeks before they become free agents. Players certainly don't negotiate contract extensions during the course of a season. Since Eric Staal is so important to this team, it will be imperative to go ahead and get this done now, before his "contract year" even begins.
As super-bionic as Rod Brind'Amour is, he won't be around forever. Including the upcoming season, Brindy has three years remaining on his contract. By the end of it, he'll be 41. Eric Staal will still only be 26, and certainly ready to assume the captaincy.
I've been on record as being against long-term contracts. I've always thought that a five-year deal is a very long commitment. These DiPietro and Lecavalier deals are a bit beyond comprehension, even for a supernova like Vinny. However, what I really like is that these deals (and a potential eight-year deal for Staal) puts a player in a sweater for life. I think that's what fans want. They don't want to have to worry if their team will be able to (afford to) re-sign their star. They really don't want to see their star go be a star somewhere else. Of course these long contracts come with standard NTCs.
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that people like it that Joe Sakic has always been a Nordique/Av. People like that Saku Koivu is the eternal Hab. Nobody likes to see a superstar change sweaters. Certainly, nobody liked to see Joe Montana wearing a Kansas City Chiefs uniform, jumping around like a ..... Nobody liked seeing Ty Cobb playing for the Philadelphia As. It's not right.
Alexander Ovechkin is and will always be a Capital. That's the way it should be. Sidney Crosby is and will always be a Penguin. That's the way it should be.
Rick DiPietro? To be honest, nobody cares.
Jarome Iginla should be a Flame for life.
You see what I'm saying. Now, I don't mean to suggest that Staal is as good as Crosby or Ovechkin or Iggy or Ty Cobb or Joe Montana. There's no doubt that he's very good, though, and that he's the player that the Hurricanes and the Caniacs need to see in the red and black for the duration of his career. If it means he has to sign longer contracts, so be it.
This may or may not be a distraction for the next "eight to ten days". We'll know soon enough. For now, we're looking forward to tomorrow's presser. I won't be there, and I can't be anywhere near an internet connection, but I'll eagerly be checking my cell phone for pix messages. Hint, hint.