PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 25: Steve Sullivan #26, Jordan Staal #11 and Kris Letang #58, all of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate Staal's second period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 25, 2012 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Jordan Staal situation has gone nuclear today. A short while ago, TSN uber-sage Bob McKenzie tweeted that Staal's camp declined a 10 year contract proposal from the Penguins. The Pittsburgh media did some digging and found out that general manager Ray Shero was prepared to commit $6 million a year (for a total of a $60 million offer for you math majors) to Staal.
The only problem?
Staal isn't interested in re-signing with the Penguins....at this time.
From Jordan's agent, Paul Krepelka:
"My only comment will be that Jordan is not prepared to enter into a contract extension at this time."
The big kicker is "at this time". Staal is set to get married tomorrow. If I was him, "at this time" I wouldn't be looking to make a career defining decision and commitment while so much attention and focus in on a life defining moment and commitment.
But, if after the dusts settles and things quiet down this summer and Staal seems to mean "at this time" as in "not until I see how much 29 other general managers would be willing to offer a 24 year old, 6'4' Selke worthy center who scores at almost a point per game rate without getting much power play time", well then Shero and the Penguins are in quite the pickle.
Shero's got a few choices at this time: A) Play it cool, hang on to Staal and decide to carry him into the season. B) Figure out Staal to the Pens isn't happening, and decide to try and flip this expiring asset for something in return, conceivably from the Carolina Hurricanes who have Eric Staal and the itching to add a big-time player to their lineup. (And that 8th overall pick in tomorrow's draft doesn't hurt, either).
Sounds more like Shero's style to go Choice A. But hey, as we said in the beginning, this situation has quickly boiled over, who knows if Shero feels Staal is pricing himself out of a Penguin jersey. Because, let's be real, Pittsburgh is not going to be able to match the highest bidder for Staal's services on July 1, 2013. Some other team will have more cap space, a higher offer and maybe even a more preferrable role for the player.
The biggest chip the Penguins had was their great team atmosphere, where Staal is happy and comfortable and a long-term mega-offer that would grant him a lifetime of securty. And a ten year, $60 million guaranteed offer is that magic bullet. At this point, about the only thing that seems clear is Staal is not going to bite on that bullet.....At this time.