Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/25/12

All remains quiet on the Pittsburgh Penguins' front -- at least publicly -- but speculation about the future of star center Jordan Staal isn't going to disappear.

For the first time since Staal was drafted in 2006, general manager Ray Shero has admitted he is unsure about the future of the "three-center model." For the past six seasons, the Penguins have enjoyed a significant advantage over other teams because of their immense strength at center. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Staal have given the Penguins unprecedented depth at one of hockey's most important positions.

But times have changed, and the Big Three are getting older. In other words, they're due for big, big raises. Keeping them together might not be possible, and if one is to go, Staal seems most likely.

Crosby and Staal both have contracts that expire in the summer of 2013. The Penguins will not trade Crosby under any circumstances and Shero told the Tribune-Review in December that signing him is the top priority of this summer. Malkin's deal expires in 2014.

Staal acknowledged following the season that keeping the three of them happy might be a problem in the future. He seems the most willing of the three to depart Pittsburgh and did nothing to hinder his asking price on a new contract by scoring six goals against the Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Whispers around the league indicate that Carolina is the most likely team to make a huge pitch for Staal in a trade this summer. His brother, Eric, is also a center in Carolina.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

Von Miller forces Cam Newton fumble to secure Super Bowl win

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

Aqib Talib commits three awful penatlies in first half of SB

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker