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Eric Staal has always been seen as one of two corner stone in the Hurricanes franchise, especially now as they will once again rebuild. Staal had his top season in 2005-2006 scoring 45 goals and tallying 55 assists for and 100 point season. Since then Staal has shown the same promise, but has not scored at the same level. Since then the closest he has gotten is 82 points in 2007-2008. I think everybody wonders why Staal has not been able to amount a point total like 2005-2006. The one thing that has not been doubted is Staal’s ability during the playoffs.
Eric Staal has been an iron man since coming into the league during the 2003-2004 season. Staal had played a total of 349 games in a row before suffering his first real play affecting injury this season. He missed a total of 12 games in 2009-2010, but still managed to score 29 goals and total 70 points. The 70 points tied his worst season since the cup and was also the first time since 2005-2006 that he failed to reach the 30 goal plateau. The Hurricanes brought back Erik Cole last season for the sole purpose of giving Staal a speedy winger to play with. It seems that Staal has just not found that fit or the supporting lines he had during the Stanley Cup run.
However, during a season of up and downs for Staal he was asked to take the step so many caniac’s had been assuming was inevitable. On January 20th, 2010 the Carolina Hurricanes named Eric Staal the 13th captain in franchise history, and the 4th in the Hurricanes short history. With the move it gave the Hurricanes some certainty headed into next season and a person to clearly lead the locker room full of young players in 2010-2011.
In 2010-2011 Staal will hopefully find a niche with some of the good young talent in the organization and lead him back to the play he accomplished in 2005-2006 and giving the Hurricanes another scoring threat. If healthy, caniac’s can almost guarantee at least 30 goals next season and 75 assists. Let’s just hope he does not go down the road of Tuomo Ruutu’s injury history next season and in the future with the money invested in Staal.