Eric Staal won’t be ‘crushed’ if Hurricanes trade him
Eric Staal might be in his final two weeks with the only thing he’s ever known in the NHL.
“I don’t know anything different. I was drafted by this organization. I won a Stanley Cup here as a young player, and committed long-term to being here,” he said of the Carolina Hurricanes. “I know no other way. As an NHL player, not a lot of people can say that.”
But as everyone knows, Staal’s elephantine contract (7 years, $8,250,000 cap hit) is ending. He goes unrestricted this summer. And while Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is putting out press releases to let everyone know that the other big-name forward going unrestricted this summer won’t be traded before Feb. 29’s deadline, the Hurricanes have not.
“The reality is that it’s a business,” said Staal. “There are decisions that are made as you move forward. I’m at the end of my contract, we’ll see how it shakes out here.”
He hasn’t been asked to waive his no-trade clause yet. But if he’s asked, and the destination is amenable, it sounds like Staal is game for a change in scenery.
“I’m not going to be crushed if a decision is made and I’m moving on for a different opportunity,” he told media in Ottawa. “But at the same time, my focus is on helping this team win games, pick up points. We’re learning how to win. We’re getting better everyday.”
The Hurricanes sit four points out of third place in the Metro, and two points out of the final wild card spot. They’re very much in the hunt.
“That’s going to sort itself out in the next two weeks," said Staal. "It’s going to make it clearer as we go.”
But as Staal said, they’re also a young team. A team with holes. A team that could benefit from trading an asset like Staal at the deadline, and then perhaps bring him back at a lower pay scale in the offseason.
After all, the Hurricanes are all he knows. Jordan Staal is a Hurricane. His home is in The Triangle. And while Ron Francis isn't Jim Rutherford, it wouldn't be the first time a former Cane came home again.
Question is: Whether or not they trade him, can the Hurricanes and Staal find common ground on a contract, knowing that someone else will overpay him in July?
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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