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April 15, 2014 | 5:30pm ET
Staal wants to stay in Raleigh

Even though rumors have popped up lately suggesting the Carolina Hurricanes could dangle Eric Staal as trade bait this off-season, the team's captain doesn't sound interested in being dealt.

Staal, 29, has two-years left on his seven-year, $57.75 million contract, which includes a full no-trade clause.

It has been widely reported that Staal could be shopped this summer, but the veteran center's priority is to return the Hurricanes to elite status.

"I've been here a long time. I love it here. I've had success here. I know and I believe we can again, and I can be a part of that," Staal told reporters on Tuesday.

"I think I can be part of the right things going forward. Obviously, my career isn't going to be forever, and I want to play in the playoffs. I don't want to continually miss the playoffs and have these types of interviews at the end of the season. We'll see what happens here in the next little while."

Staal, who registered 21 goals and 40 assists for 61 points in 79 games with the Hurricanes this season, hasn't thought about playing elsewhere.

The Hurricanes drafted Staal second-overall in 2003 and hope to see him skating in their jersey for some time.

"No, I've never thought that, dreamed that or wanted that," Staal said of playing in another market. "But obviously with where we're at and where it's been at the last little while, everything's going to be evaluated."

Hurricanes President and GM Jim Rutherford is expected to step aside from his General Manager position in the near future, upon which Ron Francis will take over in that role.

Staal believes with better play and a few tweaks to the roster, the Hurricanes can become a contender again.

"Bottom line, we just have to get better, all around," he said. "I think we can get a little bit tougher, especially at home. Our record at home this year speaks for itself, it's not good enough. I think we can be a little stronger in that area.

"We've added some bigger names here in the last two years, but that doesn't mean I'm not out of the woods. It means I still need to perform and be at my best."

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