PITTSBURGH -- Bombshell news on the eve of the NHL draft with my TSN teammate Bob McKenzie breaking the story that local star Jordan Staal of the Penguins has turned down a 10-year contract extension from Pittsburgh.
I reached Staal’s agent Paul Krepelka who confirmed the news.
"He is not prepared to enter into a contract extension at this time," Krepelka told ESPN.com.
All of which has obvious and major ramifications if the Penguins are unable to change Staal’s mind. The talented, two-way center has one year left on his deal with Pittsburgh at a $4-million cap hit before hitting unrestricted free agency. (The Penguins' 10-year offer is believed to be worth $60 million).
If Staal doesn’t change his mind this summer about an extension, it forces the hand of Penguins GM Ray Shero to possibly trade him before losing him for nothing a year from now.
As I wrote on June 8, the Carolina Hurricanes are an obvious front-runner for Staal, wanting to unite the Staal brothers Eric and Jordan in Raleigh, N.C.
There would be a long list of teams vying for Staal, including the likes of Toronto, Buffalo and Anaheim just to name a few. But as one NHL GM told ESPN.com Thursday evening, "Let’s be honest, Carolina has the hammer."
If it’s true that Jordan wants to join Eric in Carolina a year from now via unrestricted free agency, then the Hurricanes indeed have the hammer.
It really seems like Jordan is going to end up playing beside Eric on the first line at PNC either this year or next year, and I can't wait. Hockey is finally going to be relevant again in North Carolina.