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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Staal contract could come soon

By Mike Hume

Defenseman Marc Staal and the Rangers may have closed the gap on a potential contract and could soon have a deal. Though GM Glen Sather earlier labeled the distance between the two sides a “chasm,” the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross writes that two NHL sources now say progress has been made in contract talks with the restricted free agent and a deal could come as early as Thursday.

According to the report, money is the biggest sticking point. Gross says the Staal camp is seeking about $4.5 million per season. That would put him just outside the top 20 highest-paid defensemen in the league this season.

Term could also be an issue as Staal is seeking a shorter-term deal to get him to unrestricted free agency while the Rangers want to lock him up for as long as they can. Seems like a middle ground could be a deal that covers the first year or two Staal is eligible for unrestricted free agency.

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