Paul Mara said he had opportunities from other teams to make more money. But the reason the defenseman accepted a one year deal for $1.95 million—which is roughly two thirds of what he made last season—is that there was no other place he wanted to be.
“There was interest from other teams but I wanted to win in New York. So there was stuff left on the table, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win,” Mara said by phone just now. “After all the signings and trades, people are excited and ready for it. Everything we have brought in is the pieces of the puzzle to win a Stanley Cup.”
Now Mara is part of that puzzle, which I’ll admit comes as a bit of a surprise. The defenseman never seemed to be one of Tom Renney’s favorites—- based not only on some healthy scratches at points last season, but also Renney’s reluctance to use him on the power play. Mara spoke glowingly of Wade Redden just now, and he probably knows his chances of playing the man-advantage have diminished even more with Redden’s arrival. But he still didn’t want to pass up a chance to win next season.
“I always wanted to stay in New York,” Mara said. “The coaches are great, the players, the trainers. First and foremost I told my agent this is where I wanted to be.”