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Rangers sign Marc Staal to six-year extension

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal passes the

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal passes the puck as a stick flies against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PITTSBURGH - The Rangers have signed defenseman Marc Staal to a six-year contract extension, the club announced Sunday. The deal is worth $5.7 million annually, according to multiple reports.

Staal, 28, a first-round selection in the 2005 NHL draft, has two goals and six assists and is a plus-8 this season. He would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rangers general manager Glen Sather called Staal "one of the cornerstones" of the franchise.

"It's the place I want to be," Staal said after the Rangers' 5-2 win over the Penguins. "I've had a great time growing up in this organization. I have a lot of respect for what they do and have had a lot of fun winning games with the guys in this room. It was the right choice."

Staal said it's a relief to get the negotiations behind him and commended the Rangers for showing their commitment to the future by locking up their defensive and goaltending corps long-term.

"The Rangers never lack in trying to make the team better," he said. "It's fun to be a part of."

Miller right at home

J.T. Miller replaced winger Tanner Glass on the fourth line. Glass suffered a recent upper-body injury and needed a "maintenance day," according to coach Alain Vigneault.

It was Miller's second start in Pittsburgh, a 20-minute drive from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, where he grew up.

Miller logged 15:30 of ice time. He has five goals and five assists in 22 games this season.

For Miller, 21, to become a fixture in the Rangers' lineup, he'll need to play with caution and consistency.

"Like I've mentioned a multitude of times, there's definitely a lot of upside there," Vigneault said. "But there's also a learning curve that goes through any young player . . .

"I believe he's on the right track. I don't necessarily believe he's going to be in the lineup every game, but it doesn't mean he's not going to be, either. It all depends on how players play and how quickly they learn."

Lundqvist hurts hand

Henrik Lundqvist's fingers were jammed by Penguins winger David Perron's skate during a flurry in front of the net in the third period. Lundqvist planned to get the hand checked out, saying it was "a little sore," but didn't anticipate it becoming a problem.

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