A day after news broke that Jordan Staal had rejected a reported 10-year offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for the No. 8 overall pick, center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stepped to the podium just before Carolina was slotted to pick at No. 8 and announced the trade to roaring cheers from the Penguins faithful in the CONSOL Energy Center crowd.
From the Hurricanes:
"Jordan is an elite two-way player who possesses a rare combination of speed, size, scoring ability and defensive responsibility," said Rutherford. "For his young age, he has a wealth of NHL experience, including winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. And he is obviously a natural fit for our team in joining our captain, his older brother Eric."
Penguins GM Ray Shero said this week that he didn't want to trade Staal and wasn't (at the time) fielding offers for the 23-year old center. With Staal, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin needing new contracts over the next couple of summers, his hope was to be able to lock up his three-headed monster down the middle. Staal's name had been floating in rumors for years given the Penguins' riches at the center position, but it was apparent Shero was taking advantage of an opportunity now rather than let the contract issues hang over Staal and the team during the season.
"The reality of the salary cap, the reality of having three centers that were this good, especially with Jordan Staal, at some point here, he's 24-years old, he's ready for a more expanded role and it's time for him to go," Shero told TSN.
Staal, who's getting married on Friday night, has one year left on his deal before becoming a UFA next summer.
With the pick, the Penguins selected defenseman Derrick Pouliot from Portland of the WHL. Shero told TSN that the deal was not contingent on Pouliot being available at No. 8.
Just before Shero announced the Pouliot pick, he thanked Staal for six great years in Pittsburgh, which included a big role in the team's 2009 Stanley Cup conquest.
Now he joins brother Eric in Carolina as Rutherford begins making changes to a Hurricanes team that finished 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy