Staal: 'The opportunity for me didn’t seem to be there' - 06-23-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Former Penguins center Jordan Staal held a conference call this afternoon to discuss the trade which sent him to the Carolina Hurricanes Friday. He talked about the trade happening on his wedding day, his rejection of the Penguins' contract offer and his desire to take on a more high profile role with the Hurricanes:

On the trade:

"It was a very exciting day obviously in my life, not only in my mine and Heather’s but the hockey world as well. I don’t think we knew when we were planning our wedding date that we knew that it was the draft day and something like that would happen. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. I found out just basically in the middle of my reception. It was definitely some tough news to hear but obviously still very excited about it. With  my teammates in the back corner there, it got a little emotional."

On rejecting a contract offer from the Penguins:

"It was a very difficult time obviously trying to plan a wedding and obviously trying to figure out the direction my career was going. I did get offered a deal from Pittsburgh, I think when I heard about it, I wasn’t really comfortable with it yet. I really wanted to wait it out and play next year and kind of see how things landed. Obviously now playing with Sid and Geno together in the same lineup for so long, I didn’t know how it would go. I kind of wanted to test the waters and see how it is. Obviously it put Ray (Shero) in a very difficult situation. He did his best to move me on. Getting that 10-year offer, kind of in the back of my mind knowing that if I did sign that deal that there’s a good chance I would never get to play beside Eric."

Did having a chance to be a more offensive player impact your decision?

"It did. With Sid being out most of the year and me getting that opportunity in that role to be a more offensive guy, I felt really comfortable in that role. And I really wanted to try explore and I think I did some good things in that role. Obviously looking forward with (Crosby and Malkin) and obviously a lot of other great players, the opportunity for me didn’t seem to be there. I wanted to hopefully challenge my self on a different team and see what I could do more offensively and try to become a better player."

No hard feelings with the Penguins?

"No not all. Ray was by far a class act throughout the negotiations. I was treated beyond anyone’s expectations. I had some unbelievable years, obviously winning the Cup there and there was a lot of great things in Pittsburgh. The city was awesome The fans were amazing. It’s unfortunate to move on but it’s definitely a new exciting chapter for myself."

Have you given any thought about signing an extension with Carolina?

"Obviously knowing what Eric’s told me of  how great Carolina is and obviously living there and the organization and the fans and everything, I’ve definitely I’ve thought about extending with Carolina and calling it home. But we haven’t thought about it too much but its definitely in the back of my mind."

Could the Penguins have done anything different to get you to agree to a contract?

"Pittsburgh was definitely a very good choice for me. But getting that offer in the middle of the summer and being unsure of how the ice tme and my role in my team, I wanted to see how the year went and take my decision from there. It was a very difficult decision, no question. I had really tough time with it. The people around me, they knew that. It was the decision I made and I think Ray decided to move me on a little sooner than I had liked. No hard feelings. I’m very excited about where I ended up."

How long have you discussed with your brother (Hurricanes captain Eric Staal) about playing together?

"We talked about it a little bit. With all my brothers and my parents, it’s definitely something we’d like to do. It’s not too often to have brothers in the NHL but obviously to play along side one is a pretty special thing. If I did sign that 10-year extension with Pittsburgh, the opportunity play with Eric would dwindle a lot. That was a little part of why I didn’t do that. It’s a very exciting for myself and Eric and our family. Its going to be a very neat time in my career."

What kind of reception do you anticipate when you return to Pittsburgh?

"I’m not sure how the fans are going to react. Obviously I had some amazing years there. The people in Pittsburgh are unbelievable. They’re just genuine people. And we were sold out pretty much every game I played there. The support there was unbelievable. Whether they have hard feelings there or not, I have a soft spot for Pittsburgh in my heart."

When did you get the news?

"Anyone’s wedding day is obviously a memorable day. Just after dinner, my agent was fortunate enough to be at my wedding and he was the first person to tell me I had moved on. Even if you know it might be coming, it’s still a shock. Very tough to get it all in. It was an emotionally day not only with the day but being traded."

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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