PENGUINS DREAMING OF A STAAL RETURN
The Tribune-Review reported Saturday night that the Penguins are interested in re-acquiring Jordan Staal, a story that will surely be a headline for the next couple days. Soon after the Post-Gazette published a headline that appears in their Sunday paper, “GM wouldn’t mind a Staal trade again”.
What is at work here is the Penguins brass wanting the message out there in that the team wants Jordan Staal back, not for the Hurricanes to know, but for the message to be out there for Jordan Staal to get wind out of it.
“Staal is a big piece that the Penguins have missed, since that trade,” Rutherford told Dave Molinari of the PG. “As good a player as Brandon Sutter is and the two young defensemen coming, Jordan is badly missed here.”
Rutherford puts it on a platter there that he wants Staal back.
The Penguins know there’s a 0% chance of trading for Staal before March 2nd, so don’t get those Staal jerseys out of the closet just yet. Hurricanes GM Ron Francis who would like to build around Jordan, isn’t giving any thought on moving Staal before the lottery as Hurricanes have a legitimate shot at Connor McDavid.
Despite the losing, sources close to Staal say he loves raising a family in the Raleigh area and enjoys the low key atmosphere of playing hockey in North Carolina. Not to mention he’s getting his wish of 20+ minutes a night as the Hurricanes top line center with his brother on left wing.
The only reason Staal’s future in Carolina is being discussed is because of his brother Eric, who has one year left on his contract and with his high salary and regressing play, Carolina is in a tough spot on whether to commit to him again long-term or get assets for him. He’s the elephant in the room right now.
NHL teams that have been interested in Eric and also Jordan, both have no movement clauses, strongly believe that Eric wants to sign another long-term deal with Carolina. If there’s a parting of ways in the next year, it’s because Carolina wants to move on.
That’s the only scenario Jordan would potentially want out of Carolina, his brother being forced out and Jim Rutherford knows this and that’s why you’re seeing this message put out there by Rutherford about how badly the Penguins miss Jordan.
The only way the Penguins can trade for Jordan is Jordan demanding a trade back to Pittsburgh. Ron Francis will have more attractive options but Staal would obviously be able to dictate where he wants to go if it ever came to that.
Right now, though, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking from the Penguins end.
If Eric goes elsewhere and Jordan wants out of Carolina, it’s more likely he would look to follow his brother and the Florida Panthers are one team that have been trying to acquire both since last summer.