GMGM’s finger-circles: an apt metaphor for his negotiations with Ray Shero.

Jordan Staal maniacally laughing.

Since the offseason began, it has been a well-circulated rumor that Penguins center Jordan Staal wanted to leave Pittsburgh to play with his older brother Eric in Carolina. When he turned down an offer of a ten-year deal from the Penguins, that rumor seemed all but confirmed.

It wasn’t much of a surprise then, when Gary Bettman stepped up to the podium at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and announced that Staal had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a first-round pick, Brandon Sutter, and prospect Brian Dumoulin. Jordan got his wish (to be on a team which someday may only consist of Staal brothers), and apparently nowhere else was even an option.

This was disappointing news to George McPhee, who identified acquiring a respectable second-line center as a major goal this offseason. Despite landing veteran center Mike Ribeiro from Dallas a half an hour before the draft on Friday, McPhee was sarcastic and abnormally expressive (hand motions, stomping) when asked by the media if he had a conversation with Penguins GM Ray Shero about making a deal to bring Jordan Staal to DC.

Day 1 of the Draft, June 22nd

Question: Were you in on Staal at all?
McPhee: “No, they wouldn’t talk to us.” [Smiles]

Day 2 of the Draft, June 23nd

Question: “What do you think of the Jordan Staal deal to Carolina?”
McPhee: “It looks like two teams got better yesterday. I try not to worry about the other clubs. They’re going to do what they’re going to do and we’re going to do what we’re going to do. They just didn’t want to talk to us though. It was funny, [Ray Shero] kept talking around it [Waves hand], ‘Ah, there’s not much going on.’ You know. [Stomps foot] He doesn’t owe me anything, so…”

So either GMGM really would have really loved to see Jordan Staal in Caps colors or genuinely amused by how hand-strung and secretive Shero was about Staal’s availability. Either way: don’t expect McPhee to do Shero any favors moving forward.

Additional reporting by Ian Oland.

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