Report: Big meeting coming regarding Eric Staal’s future in Carolina

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Eric Staal has said – repeatedly – that he would prefer to stay with the Carolina Hurricanes. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that an upcoming meeting between his agent Rick Curran and GM Ron Francis may determine the course of his (and really, the franchise’s) future.

There are some interesting facets to this situation, particularly these three factors:

Staal’s expiring, expensive contract

There’s no denying that Staal is an important piece for Carolina, but is he worth keeping around?

His $8.25 million cap hit is pricey enough, yet in the last season of his deal, his salary peaks at a whopping $9.5 million. That’s a lot of scratch for a guy who has scored 61 points or less the past three seasons (and isn’t particularly dominant defensively, either).

The good-and-bad news is that his contract expires after 2016-17. LeBrun believes that Carolina cannot afford to let him walk for nothing, so they’re at a fork in the road: either trade him or get an extension done at a discount.

No-trade clause

LeBrun reports that Staal may be amenable to waiving his no-trade clause under many circumstances, yet it’s just another thing that makes this a tricky situation for Francis.

Domino effect

Curran doesn’t just represent Eric Staal, he also is Jordan’s agent. Oh yeah, his client list also includes Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner. That accounts for almost $26.3 million of cap commitments for Carolina.

While Ward’s deal also expires after this coming season (was that a sigh of relief from Hurricanes fans?), Jordan Staal and Skinner have lengthy deals. Still, it’s more than reasonable to wonder if Jordan would want to stick with Carolina if his brother is gone.

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As LeBrun notes, Curran wants to know what direction this franchise takes. Considering his client list, he has a lot of say in what happens, too.