Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal has reportedly turned down a 10-year contact offer. The former second-overall pick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season.
The deal was supposedly worth $60 million, which is a raise for Staal who only made $4.5 million this past season.
Reports have surfaced that he loves it in Pittsburg and wants to remain a Penguin but has no interest in signing an extension with the team at this time, according to the Pens Blog.
The Penguins also have to re-sign franchise player Sidney Crosby next offseason. So signing the two may be a difficult task for general manager Ray Shero. Staal must believe that he is worth more than the six million annually, but the Penguins need to be wise and save enough money to keep Crosby in a Penguins uniform.
The decision to turn down the offer is somewhat mind boggling as, in a sport as physical as the NHL, one hit could end a career. Bruins fans suffered this reality with star forward Marc Savard. Even if he does not want to return to Pittsbugh, the security of a 10-year deal is tough to pass up. Still just 23, Staal has been somewhat injury-prone the past two season only playing in 104 out of a possible 164 regular season games.
With reigning Hart trophy winner Evgeni Malkin and Crosby in town Staal has to concede to the two All-Stars. Staal may love it in Pittsburgh, but he may want to go to a different town and be the go-to player to escape the shadows of Malkin and Crosby.