Jordan Staal turns down Pens' extension

PITTSBURGH -- Bombshell news on the eve of the NHL draft with my TSN teammate Bob McKenzie breaking the story that local star Jordan Staal has turned down a 10-year contract extension from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I reached Staal’s agent, Paul Krepelka, who confirmed the news.

"He is not prepared to enter into a contract extension at this time," Krepelka told ESPN.com.

All of which has obvious and major ramifications if the Penguins are unable to change Staal’s mind. The talented, two-way center has one year left on his deal with Pittsburgh at a $4 million cap hit before hitting unrestricted free agency. (The Penguins' 10-year offer is believed to be worth $60 million).

If Staal doesn’t change his mind this summer about an extension, it forces the hand of Penguins GM Ray Shero to possibly trade him before losing him for nothing a year from now.

As I wrote on June 8, the Carolina Hurricanes are an obvious front-runner for Staal, wanting to unite the Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan, in Raleigh, N.C.

There would be a long list of teams vying for Staal, including the likes of Toronto, Buffalo and Anaheim just to name a few. But as one NHL GM told ESPN.com Thursday evening, "Let’s be honest, Carolina has the hammer."

If it’s true that Jordan wants to join Eric in Carolina a year from now via unrestricted free agency, then the Hurricanes indeed have the hammer.