The trade deadline is just five days away and, over in Carolina, one of the biggest chips in play still hasn’t been asked if he’s willing to move.
On Wednesday, ‘Canes captain Eric Staal told the News & Observer GM Ron Francis hasn’t asked him to waive his no-trade clause yet, but added he may be willing to — depending on the situation.
“Ultimately, we’ll see what management wants to do and what they see is best for this organization and this team, and we’ll go from there,” Staal said. “Obviously it depends on the situation and where it would be. But I think we’ve got a pretty good relationship where we can talk it out and figure it out.
“I’m not going to be trying to hold anything back, but it’s got to be the right situation for myself, as well.”
Though this isn’t an especially huge development — Francis could orchestrate a trade tomorrow, ask Staal to waive, and boom, trade’s done — it could shed light on the current state of the trade market. Things have been fairly slow thus far, with only depth rentals like Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and, from the non-Leafs division, Mike Weber changing addresses so far.
As such, Francis could be playing the waiting game, hopeful that prices will drive up as Feb. 29 draws closer.
The News & Observer mentions Nashville, Florida and the New York Rangers as teams rumored to be interested in the 31-year-old’s services. Staal is a desirable asset, but it won’t be simple to orchestrate a deal — his $8.25M cap hit means Carolina would likely need to retain some salary.
At first glance, that might appear a non-issue because 1) the ‘Canes aren’t near the ceiling, and 2) Staal’s contract is up at the end of the year. But Francis is already retaining salary from two other trades — Jay Harrison to Winnipeg, Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey — and teams are only allowed to keep money from three contracts.
If Staal is No. 3, it would prevent Francis using the mechanism for other deals.