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Eric Staal uncertain about future with Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As the Carolina Hurricanes prepare for the offseason after having failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, there is a possibility management will make significant roster changes. Captain Eric Staal is among those players who are uncertain about their future.

With one season remaining on a seven-year contract, Staal said he has had no discussion with the Hurricanes about an extension.

"No contract talks," he said. "I'm not worried about it to be honest. I'm not sure what their plans are or what lies ahead."

Staal, once a steady 70-plus point producer, slipped to 61 points last season, and he enters the season finale with 54 points. He has played parts of both seasons working through injuries. The Hurricanes captain was clear he would prefer to stay with Carolina, noting his enthusiasm for the organization and its fans.

But if management were to ask him to waive the no-movement clause in his contract, he would be willing to listen.

"Depending on where I was being shipped off to," said Staal, who has 11 points in the past 10 games. "If it came to that, for sure."

Staal said he did not mind the idea of playing the final year of his contract with an uncertain future, even while serving as captain.

"There are guys who have done it," he said. "To me, [a contract extension] is not something I need to happen."

Staal, whose 100-point season helped carry the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006, will be prepared for whatever scenario plays out.

"I know I can play," he said. "I'm going to play in this League for a lot more years. So if they don't want me here, I will play somewhere else. But I care about a lot of people in this organization and these fans, so I would like to be part of getting better and taking another step. But if they don't feel I'm part of that, then you obviously take a look at other roads."

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