Francis throws cold water on Staal, Sekera trade rumors

Vultures were reportedly picking at Carolina following its dreadful 0-6-2 start to the year, with most focused on trying to acquire captain Eric Staal or pending UFA blueliner Andrej Sekera.

To the birds of prey, GM Ron Francis has a message:

Take off.

“I think people are always trying to throw things out there and stir things up. That’s the way it is in today’s world,” Francis said on Sportsnet Fan 590. “I mean, you throw things on Twitter, it gets a lot of hits, everybody makes money, everybody is happy.”

Then there was this:

Doug MacLean: These guys [big centermen] are hard to find in the NHL. There’s a handful of them in the league. And then we keep hearing Eric Staal’s on the block. Come on, that’s B.S., right?

Francis: Absolutely.

On Sekera — who many have projected to be the blueliner of interest heading into this year’s trade deadline — Francis made it clear he wants to keep the 28-year-old Slovak in the mix.

“He would be a guy that we would look to re-sign and keep here,” Francis explained. “He’s been real good for us.

“[He’s] the kind of guy you want to be a part of your organization going forward. So hopefully that’s something we can do.”

Carolina has rebounded from its awful start to win three in a row, and will go for No. 4 tomorrow night against Columbus — they same team they beat 4-2 on Tuesday at Nationwide. It’ll be a big game for the ‘Canes, who need all the wins they can get right now; the club has another rough road trip coming up, a five-game stretch through Dallas, Los Angeles, Colorado, Florida and Pittsburgh from Nov. 18-28.

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