Latest speculation on Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and the Ottawa Senators search for a top-six winger.
TORONTO SUN: In his recent preview of the NHL’s Eastern Conference, Mike Zeisberger speculated on the fate of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Given the center’s output, Zeisberger doesn’t consider him an $8 million per season player He wonders if the Hurricanes try to trade him this season (which won’t go over well with Eric’s brother and teammate Jordan), or do they extend his contract despite limited financial resources.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Hurricanes have a number of players eligible for UFA status (Cam Ward, Eddie Lack, Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles), Staal is their primary concern and the most expensive to retain. Staal’s agent and Hurricanes GM Ron Francis insist they’re having an open dialogue on the matter. The Hurricanes have just over $32 million invested in eight players for 2016-17, so they have the room to re-sign Staal. The question is how much and for how long. If Staal’s willing to accept a pay cut to $6.5 million annually on a four-year contract, a deal could be reached. If not, they’ll try to shop him leading up to the Feb. 29th trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray still hopes to find a top-six forward, either in training camp or via a trade. Murray said he spoke with some UFAs and attempted to make a trade during the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s been searching for a top-six forward for several years now. Maybe this is the season he finally finds what he’s seeking.