COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Rangers' Big Three on "D'' are going to be locked in for years.
Marc Staal and his representatives were putting the finishing touches on a six-year contract extension worth about $35 million Friday, according to two persons familiar with the negotiations. The pact could be completed as soon as Saturday.
After Friday night's 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets, Staal acknowledged that the extension is close.
Staal, 28, would have been the top defenseman on the market in July. Instead, he'll join Ryan McDonagh (who inked a six-year, $28.2-million contract in July 2013) and Dan Girardi (six years, $33 million, February 2014) with long-term deals.
"Marc is, in my opinion, one of the best defenders in the league," coach Alain Vigneault said Friday night. "You can play him against any top player and you know he's going to defend well, and he's also got a good first pass. I'm not exactly sure where they are with all the [talks], but I definitely appreciate him staying on my team."
Since the start of the season, Staal, an alternate captain who was drafted 12th overall in 2005, regularly has expressed his desire to stay in New York, but he also wanted an agreement forged sooner rather than later.
The deal is believed to include a full no-trade clause for three years and a limited no-trade for the final three.
Quality defensemen are scarce, and Staal could have commanded more money either from the Rangers or another club this summer.
Staal, who lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter, scored his second goal of the season Friday night, giving him 29 goals and 119 points.
The Rangers are "where I want to be," he said.
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