(Jordan Staal did a lot of winning as a player in Pittsburgh)
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When the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Jordan Staal, former Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford envisioned Carolina being a serious threat in the Eastern Conference with a 1-2 punch down middle in the Staal brothers.
Things obviously haven’t panned out and Eric Staal’s dip in play is why that 1-2 punch will never be what the Hurricanes organization had hoped.
Jordan Staal, though, remains a building block for new GM Ron Francis and sources close to Staal say he is fully committed to riding this thing out in Carolina and has no intentions of waiving his no movement clause in the near future, were Hurricanes management to approach him.
Staal married and now has his first child, not only wanted a trade to Carolina to play with his brother, but to also raise a family, those close to Staal say. Jordan is under contract through the 2022-2023 season.
Staal’s numbers have not been impressive in Carolina but his impact on the ice is not measured by stats. It’s why former Penguins GM Ray Shero has told close associates he regrets trading Staal in the summer of 2012 and Shero is said to believe he might still be the Penguins GM if Pittsburgh had rode the final season out with Staal in 2013 (let him walk) and had him for that playoff run which ended in being swept by Boston.
What’s problematic for Hurricanes is Eric Staal ($8.25 million cap hit) who has one year left on his contract, set to make $9.5 million in 2015-2016. Despite his regression as a player, teams are willing to pay a high premium for centers and the the best long-term move for Carolina would be to trade him. Francis, though, is in a tough spot as he wants to rebuild around Jordan Staal. Do you bite the bullet and resign Eric to a four-five year deal?
Bob McKenzie on NBCSN Wednesday night, confirmed the Staal’s and even Cam Ward aren’t looking to bolt Carolina. “Both Staal brothers and Cam Ward have no move clauses and they have no desire at this moment in time to consider going anywhere other than Carolina,” McKenzie said.
— Speaking of the Staal’s, brother Marc Staal is set to land a 6 year extension worth around $34.5 million from the New York Rangers. The Rangers will commit a combined $11.25 million against the cap to Dan Girardi and Marc Staal for the next five seasons, but the Rangers have the luxury of having Ryan McDonagh at a bargain contract for the next four seasons with a cap hit of $4.7 million. The deals for Girardi and Staal might be a bit much but $15.95 million committed to your top-3 defensemen isn’t a cap killer, especially when McDonagh is such a bargain and legit No. 1 defenseman. Their formula of having a great goaltender, a true No. 1 defenseman, and two shutdown pairing defensemen in Girardi and Staal has proven to work in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the agents for Johnny Boychuk, Cody Franson, Mike Green and even Jeff Petry have to be smiling today as the Staal deal does set the market. Staal’s deal impacts those three or four, not Paul Martin or Christian Ehrhoff who are nearing their mid-30’s and their market is kind of set in that $5-$6 million per season range already.
— Brooks Orpik’s 5 years, $27.5 million contract certainly gets scrutinized as it should and Orpik is never going to have the advance stats crew jump on board to what he brings to the table, but there might not be another player in the league like Orpik who is valued so highly by coaches/management around the league and so scrutinized from pundits, fans. The thing I hear about Orpik in Washington is they feel they had to make that deal in attempt to change the culture and identity there and they’ve been rewarded so far as Orpik has played a huge part to this point in doing that. As one executive said, that’s the price you have to pay in some situations to get what you want accomplished. The payoff for the short-term out-weighs long-term implications of Orpik not likely being very productive in year four and five of the deal.
— The talk surrounding Mike Babcock has been that $4 million per season is a very important number to him but the sense is it might be $5 million as he intends to hit the open market and see what’s out there before making a decision on returning to the Red Wings who have shown a willingness to offer him around $3.5 million per season. Babcock is determined to change the culture of how coaches get paid in the NHL and you can’t blame him. Babcock believes he can win in a lot of places if ownership is committed to spending, which is why Philadelphia with Claude Giroux as a core player to build around is going to be such a darkhorse in the Babcock sweepstakes this summer. Fair or not to Mike Johnston who has done a great job so far, if Pittsburgh goes out in the first or second round, Ron Burkle will certainly be tempted to lure Babcock to Pittsburgh.