Ray Shero: “I have no plans to trade Jordan Staal.” Jordan Staal: “I have no plans to sign a new contract.” Hockey is back, yes…

Well I’m disappointed in myself that I couldn’t finish my opinion on Ray Shero’s statement from earlier in the week that he would not trade Jordan Staal, before well what do you know, Jordan Staal turned the hockey world upside down today.

If you haven’t heard, Staal reportedly flat out rejected a “mega deal” from the Penguins today. Admittedly, the deal is rumored to be 10 years at $6 million per season. Yes $60 million is a healthy chunk of change, but realistically speaking it is probably a million a year too low, at least, and that should come as a surprise to no one. What we don’t know is why Jordan so flatly rejected it. It’s easy to make conjectures: he doesn’t want to be in Pittsburgh anymore, he hates the Penguins organization, he feels stifled in this city. You can’t prove any of it.

Be Serious…

Jordan hasn’t asked for a trade, he hasn’t threatened to sit out the season, he’s never even suggested that he actively wants to leave Pittsburgh, all he did was reject a contract offer that your grandmother could tell you is not even close to fair market value, he knows that he would make more (a lot more) in free agency, even if the exact dollar figure is up in the air. And who can blame Shero for trying? Josh Yohe had this to say about Staal and Shero, “If there was a Mt. Rushmore of Ray Shero’s four favorite players, I bet Jordan Staal would be on it.” I bet he’s right. For all the fame and accolades that Sid and Geno have brought to the Penguins organization, nobody (except for maybe Brooks Orpik) represents what Shero wants the Penguins to resemble more than Jordan Staal. He’s big, he’s North American, he can kill penalties and score goals in equal measure, further, he was Shero’s first pick in Pittsburgh. The 2006 draft was basically the only draft that Shero has had with the Penguins where he had full autonomy to pick the player he wanted, and his choice was Staal. In other words, this was probably little more than Shero trying to extend a measure of good faith to one of his players.

With that said there is a lot more to consider. Staal’s agent has said that Jordan doesn’t want to negotiate at all right now. I fail to see why that’s an issue given that right now is still 8 days before the very first day that he is allowed by the league to actually conduct negotiations. Further, Saturday is Jordan’s wedding, I’m sure his thoughts are on the complete opposite of hockey right now.

I’ll mention that apparently Jordan has officially said that the only team he would consider a trade to is Carolina. A lot of people look at it as wanting to reunite with his brothers Eric and Jared (who is a prospect in Carolina’s system). That misses the point. The Staal parents have basically moved to North Carolina permanently and it would be a big family reunion minus Marc, who could always follow suit when his contract runs out. You have to remember this, Jordan has basically been on his own since the day he turned 18, it would be impossible for any of us to claim that he doesn’t deserve the opportunity to move closer to his family.

So let’s recount where we’re at right now. Jordan Staal turned down an offer from the Penguins today. The money was low, the years were long, and it came two days before his wedding, and 8 days before he could legally commit to the contract under the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement. Everyone relax.

Here are some other things we know. If Staal doesn’t want to negotiate with anyone excepting maybe Carolina and the Pens, then the Pens really can’t trade him. Nobody is going to make an offer on a 23-year old Cup winner and 6 season veteran if they don’t believe with reasonable certainty that they can sign him to a long-term contract. So thus, what Shero promised on Tuesday is still true, is likely still true, he won’t be trading Jordan Staal. There’s only one team in the NHL who would realistically feel confident in their ability to work out a deal with Jordan, and the cost of acquisition still isn’t going to be cheap. The Canes would need to give up Brandon Sutter, probably their first round draft pick, and a defenseman. Some analysts have predicted a defensive prospect (woo hoo!), but I feel like Shero could orchestrate a little magic and up that to Jamie McBain or another NHL defenseman.

Here’s one more, Jordan Staal is 23. I’m 23. I’m still in college and I don’t exactly have every step of the next ten years of my life planned. Why should he? Isn’t it okay for Jordan to not be sure what he wants or what he’s going to do?

One more nugget from Buccigross:

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