Rejecting this deal is the right choice for Jordan Staal in the long run. He will always be stuck behind All-Stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. It doesn't matter how well he performs.
Staal's value lies in his two-way ability. He could be a Selke Award candidate every year, and he is only 23 years old. He has the potential to develop into a great offensive player, and he showed that with last year's 25-goal campaign.
Pittsburgh's interest in locking Staal down is expected. It is what's best for the franchise in the long run, but it's not in Staal's best interest. He deserves a shot to be a top-six player. If he's given that shot, his offensive numbers could vault to new heights.
Signing a shorter contract with Pittsburgh or moving to another city is a better option. Other teams will definitely come knocking on Ray Shero's door seeking Staal's services.
Where would Staal be better off?
He could join his brother, Eric, in Carolina. The Hurricanes were rumored as candidates for Jordan over a month before this latest wrinkle. The two brothers would form a dynamic top-two up the middle for Carolina, and I'm sure they would enjoy the opportunity to play together.
Staal wants his chance. He wants a little more of the limelight. That's something he will never find in Pittsburgh.
It's in his best interest to keep the possibilities of his young career wide open. He has no reason to lock himself into Pittsburgh's lineup for 10 seasons. Exploring other options is the right choice.
Pittsburgh could rework its pitch, and they could eventually reach an agreement. But for now, who can blame Staal for wanting to get his?