New York Rangers land Eric Staal

12167649-1410968506-640x360Cross Eric Staal off the list of available trade candidates leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

The New York Rangers landed the 31-year-old center today in exchange for prospect Aleksi Saarela and second-round picks in both 2016 and 2017. The Carolina Hurricanes also retained roughly 50 percent of the the remaining $2,094,086 owed to Eric Staal this season.

“Eric has been the face of this franchise for a long time, and we thank him for his dedication, leadership and many contributions on and off the ice over the years,” said Carolina GM Ron Francis in a statement. “We felt this was an important opportunity for us to continue our work in building an organization that can consistently compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.”

Staal had to waive his no-trade clause in order for the move to be completed. He is in the final year of a seven-year, $57.7 million contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

“One of the things we wanted to do was add to our team,” said Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton. “Our team is playing well and has played well for the past few months so we wanted to add some help in this one area. We’re bringing in a player we really like, one that can add to our group in a lot of ways, that has won, and is still a young player. He gives us an added dimension to make us a better hockey team and a tougher team to beat.”

Staal was selected second overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has tallied 20-plus goals in nine of his 12 NHL seasons, scoring 30 or more goals five times and 40 or more twice—including the 2005-06 season in which the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup.

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