NHL Trade Rumors: Could Columbus Blue Jackets Have Interest in Jordan Staal?

Patrick Drottar@pdrottarCorrespondent IJune 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Jordan Staal #11 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his game opening goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Penguins 8-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The hockey world was abuzz today when it was reported by TSN on Thursday that Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal turned down a massive 10-year contract extension, worth $60 million.

After turning down the offer, Staal and his agent had no interest in re-entering negotiations and have no plans to sign one anytime soon.

Will DePaoli of Inside Pittsburgh Sports believes the reason the Penguins decided to leak the story is because the team plans on listening to trade offers for the 23-year-old this summer.

Will DePaoli Will DePaoli ‏@TIOPS_DePaoli

There's a reason have leaked out word about Staal...Intend to entertain offers immediately but no guarantee he gets moved this weekend

There will be a lot of teams interested as Staal has shown a lot of promise at such a young age and has a chance to be one of the best centers in the league.

One team that could have some interest in the Ontario-native is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted earlier that Staal wants to have the opportunity to be the star of his own team, no longer cast in the shadows of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby,

 Tom Reed ‏@treedPD

Staal wants a chance to be star on own team. He's one of the better all-around players. could make serious offer after dealing Nash

There is a high possibility that the Jackets will be in the market for a new star, as the team will most likely trade away their captain Rick Nash and may have serious interest in Staal.

Columbus has been in the market for a top-line center for quite some time and have been unable to find that missing piece.

They attempted to do so last summer when they acquired Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter during the NHL Draft, a move that, as we all know, did not pan out for Columbus, as he was later traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

If the Blue Jackets do in fact trade Nash this summer, Staal would have the opportunity to come in and be one of the team's most dependable leaders, alongside defensemen Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski.

While with Pittsburgh, Staal ranked as the team's third center behind the two stars of the team. If Columbus were to acquire him, he would undoubtedly be the team's most talented center.

The big question, if Columbus is in fact interested, is what they would offer in return for the six-year veteran?

The Jackets would most likely have to give up their second-overall pick in this weekend's draft and a few other picks, as well as one or two talented prospects and another player.

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on April 3, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If the trade does not occur this weekend, the Pens would ask for one of their two first-round picks in next year's draft, including the one acquired in the trade for Carter.

The one thing that could be standing in the way of the Jackets possibly making an offer is the result of being aggressive last offseason.

Columbus general manager Scott Howson went out of his comfort zone last year in trading their first-round pick for an immediate impact player and may be hesitant to do the same this year.

However, this season is make or break for Howson, and he may have no choice but to show the front office he is willing to do what it takes to make this team a winner.

Regardless, this summer is shaping up to be quite an interesting one as it seems several new faces will be joining the Union Blue.


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