Eric Staal asking for $9 million annually: Report

Greg Wyshynski
Eric Staal asking for $9 million annually: Report
Eric Staal asking for $9 million annually: Report

Renaud Lavoie of Journal de Montreal has a doom and gloom piece about the Carolina Hurricanes, as Peter Karmanos continues his delusional plan to sell the team but somehow retain ownership powers over it. 

But as we discover later in the story, Eric Staal might have cornered the market on delusion for the Hurricanes.

According to Lavoie, Staal is making a mighty ask for an annual salary:

Eric Staal is seeking approximately nine million per season, he will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2016. But the captain of Hurricanes is no fool would be surprised if his bosses give him such salary annually.

Now, Bob McKenzie of TSN has already come out and denied this part of the tale. But consider what he's already making: Staal goes UFA next summer and has a base salary of $9.5 million this season, with an $8.25 million cap hit. The 30-year-old center signed a 7-year, $57.75-million contract that kicked in for the 2009-10 season, which was, like, an entire CBA ago.

That contract, and this salary, seem like a joke today, but you have to remember the context. Staal was a point-per-game player in 2007-08. Vincent Lecavalier had signed an 11-year deal that earned him an average of $9 million annually through nine seasons, and Alex Ovechkin’s cap hit was $9.5 million in his mega-deal. So the contract for Staal – the franchise player for a franchise that had to overpay to sign him long-term – made sense in 2008.

But here we are in 2015. He’s 30. He hasn’t cracked 70 points in either of the last two seasons, after posting his highest points-per-game average since his 100-point season in the lockout season of 2012-13.

His salary level this season says he’s a $9-million player, but his output doesn’t. As R.L. Bynum wrote in 2014: “Why pay Maserati money for an above-average mid-sized car?”

This piece from Canes Country in June did a nice job detailing the options for the Canes. The survey at the end was interesting, in that there’s massive support for “have a number in mind and stick to it, then try to make a move if a deal can't be made” and the least support for “negotiate and sign a new contract, no matter the price.”

Ultimately, I think Staal is happy in Raleigh. At least that’s the notion I’ve gotten through the years. But happiness also means he’s being paid what he believes he’s worth. This opening bid, if accurate, could just be more Mark Giordano posturing for a player that wants to stay. Or it could be Eric Staal actually believing he’s worth $9 million, or that someone will pay him $9 million; to be honest, the latter is less delusional than the former, given this league.