Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal rejected a 10-year contract offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins and is not interested in signing a new deal at this time, according to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie.
Staal is entering the final year of his contract and along with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.
General manager Ray Shero has said repeatedly that his intention is to sign both players (as well as Evgeni Malkin, who is eligible for free agency one year after Crosby and Staal) but this certainly adds to the intrigue.
Perhaps it was something as simple as the dollar amount (or term) not being to Staal's liking, or perhaps he simply wants to test the free agent market next summer. If it's the latter, can you really blame him? He has nothing left to prove in Pittsburgh, having already won a Stanley Cup and established himself as one of the NHL's elite shutdown centers. Next summer is going to be his best (and perhaps only) opportunity to hit a big payday. Every team in the NHL would have an interest in signing him, and many of them would be willing to spend large amounts of money for his services. If you had a chance in your profession to allow 30 potential employers to line up and bid for your talents, you would probably want to take advantage of it, too.
It's also worth keeping in mind the amount of misinformation that gets put out there at this time of year by teams and agents.
This doesn't mean that Staal definitely won't re-sign with the Penguins. Offers and rejections are part of the process, but the fact that this came out one day before the draft is certainly interesting and won't do anything to quiet the trade rumors and speculation that Shero tried so hard to dismiss earlier in the week.