Some pretty harsh news has hit the internet in the last few hours for Pittsburgh Penguins fans: center Jordan Staal has rejected a 10-year, $58 million contract offer from the team and “is not prepared to enter into a contract extension at this time,” according to his agent, Paul Krepelka.
The $58 million number was Pittsburgh’s initial offer and the Penguins were willing to go higher, according to multiple internet sources, but Staal and his camp flatly turned down the deal.
What exactly this news means for Staal’s future in Pittsburgh is unclear, as there are numerous implications resulting from the rejected offer and the quote from Krepelka.
My initial reaction was something of “Sayonara, Staal. It’s been real.” I took the news as Staal wanting to get out from behind the two best centers in the world and take the reigns of a team by himself.
Plenty of teams out there could use a 23-year-old franchise center. The Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs are a few of the first teams to come to mind as potential landing spots where Staal would essentially be given the franchise’s future.
The most likely landing place for Staal right now, though, seems to be the Carolina Hurricanes. Jordan, who hasn’t officially ruled out re-signing in Pittsburgh, has told Penguins officials that he’d sign a contract extension with the Hurricanes if a deal could be reached between the two sides. He’d become the team’s second-best center behind his brother, Eric Staal.
I’ll get into what the Penguins could receive from the Hurricanes in exchange for Staal either tonight or tomorrow, though I’ll say this now: I don’t see much in Carolina’s organization that would make dealing Staal worth losing out on the best third line center in the league.
An interesting thing to note, though, is that the Penguins publicly “leaked” the information of Staal rejecting the 10-year deal. General Manager Ray Shero recently stated he wasn’t fielding offers for Staal and that the team planned on retaining Jordan’s services. With news of Staal not wanting to re-up in Pittsburgh right now getting to the media, Shero’s phone will surely be ringing off the hook from now until Staal is moved or re-signed, especially with the NHL Draft beginning tomorrow night.
Keep in mind, though, that Staal hasn’t said he wants to leave Pittsburgh. While his “I Love Pittsburgh and don’t want to leave, etc, etc” spiel from a few days ago is surely nothing but media fodder, he has yet to explicitly state he wants out.
For now, all we know is that Jordan Staal is a Pittsburgh Penguin and will remain one until his contract is up after the 2012-13 season, or until he’s moved by Shero.
We also know Jordan is getting married tomorrow. Nothing like a little Where-Will-I-End-Up distraction to take the edge off a wedding.
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