Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said Monday he is likely to begin training camp entering the final year of his contract.
"[I'm] kind of waiting to see how it's going to play out here in the next while," Staal told the News & Observer. "I haven't given it a ton of thought, or time, as of right now. I'm focused on having a good finish to training for the summer and getting ready for the start of camp."
Staal, 31 on Oct. 29, will make $9.5 million this season, with an NHL salary-cap charge of $8.25 million, in the final year of a seven-year, $57.7 million contract he signed prior to the 2009 season, according to war-on-ice.com.
Last season, Staal led Carolina with 54 points (23 goals, 31 assists) in 77 games, his fewest points in a full season since his rookie year of 2003-04.
"We're comfortable letting this go down the road a little bit," Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis told the newspaper Tuesday.
On June 27, Francis said, "I've had a general and open and honest conversation with Eric's agent on things. We'll continue to have those as we move into the summer. Eric has indicated he wants to be part of the Hurricanes moving forward, and we'll see if we can get that worked out."
Staal has played 11 seasons with the Hurricanes and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2006. He has 312 goals and 742 points in 846 NHL games.