Carolina Hurricanes: Drop Three Games and the End of an Era

Feb 26, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Noah Hanifin (5) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period against the Boston Bruins at PNC Arena. The Bruins won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Noah Hanifin (5) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period against the Boston Bruins at PNC Arena. The Bruins won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been an incredibly disappointing and sad week for the Carolina Hurricanes as we see in this week’s wrap-up from Cardiac Cane.

Regular Season 2/24 – 2/28


This past week was one of the most important in the history of the Carolina Hurricanes. The rumor mill turned and turned. When it was all said and done, Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg were now no longer Hurricanes, and Carolina collected a bounty of picks and prospects to work with going forward. Defenseman John-Michael Liles was added to the list of departures in the very last seconds of the trade deadline. Literally, the last few seconds.

Related Story: How Eric Staal Changed Everything

Almost lost in all the commotion of this weekend was that Carolina had three rough games this week. First was presumably a winnable game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It didn’t start well, when the Leafs took the lead through a Brad Boyes power play goal. The Canes answered back though, when Eric Staal won a draw and John-Michael Liles slammed home a slap shot from the point for the tying goal.

That ended up being Eric Staal’s last point as a Hurricane.

The rest of the game was poor from a Carolina perspective. Two more goals for Toronto put an end to the Canes’ chances with a final score of 3-1. The worst part of the loss was the injury to Andrej Nestrasil. Playing the best hockey of his career, he fell awkwardly after Nazem Kadri hit him into the boards. Unfortunately for him and the Hurricanes, he will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Next up was a home game against the Boston Bruins. If the Hurricanes wanted to stay in the playoff race realistically, they needed a win. Sadly, the boys didn’t perform up to scratch.

Live Feed

NY Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello shares update on Zach Parise before training camp
NY Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello shares update on Zach Parise before training camp /

Eyes On Isles

  • Looking back at the Blackhawks' trades involving Andrew LaddPuck Prose
  • Why Carolina Hurricanes fans should be excited for the 2023-24 seasonPuck Prose
  • Former NY Islanders F Cory Conacher attempting courageous NHL comebackEyes On Isles
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • The Top 5 under 25 goaltenders entering the 2023-24 NHL seasonPuck Prose
  • With decisions about Eric Staal clearly looming over the team, Carolina fought to a 4-1 defeat. The Bruins took a 2-0 into the second period, but Noah Hanifin managed to get a nice bounce to cut the lead in half. Unfortunately Matt Beleskey scored soon after that, and Boston’s Brad “little flea” Marchand added an empty net score to hand Carolina the loss.

    Sunday was busy. Very busy. Before talking about the trades, let’s review the game against the St. Louis Blues.

    Without their captain, the Canes performed admirably for the first twenty minutes of play. A snipe from Jeff Skinnerplaying in his 400th game, and a blast from Ron Hainsey, gave Carolina a 2-1 lead after the first. However, the Blues dominated the rest of the game, scoring four goals, including a nice goal from rookie Robby Fabbri. The game ended 5-2, effectively killing the Hurricanes’ playoff dreams.

    Before puck drop on Sunday Eric Staal was shipped off to the New York Rangers to play with his brother Marc Staal. In return Carolina collected Finnish prospect Aleksi Saarela and two 2nd round draft picks, one in 2016 and one in 2017.

    The return is a tough pill to swallow considering Staal was once thought of as a superstar. When you consider, though, that Ron Francis’ hands were tied with Eric’s no trade clause and there were only two places Staal said he would go to, that played a major role in lowering the price tag, the return was respectable for Staal.

    "“We gave them a couple teams, but they knew that this is the spot I wanted to be, for obvious reasons,” Staal said. “I’m grateful that Ron and Jeff were able to work something out and give me the opportunity to be here and join this group of guys.” – NY Post, February 29, 2016"

    During the game Sunday night, winger Kris Versteeg found out that he would be flying out to LA to suit up for the Kings. In return Carolina picked up a conditional fifth round pick in this year’s draft, and talented 20 year old Valentin Zykov. Versteeg’s acquisition from Chicago was highway robbery by Ron Francis last summer, so anything back from him was just an added bonus. Interestingly, it was the second year in a row that Carolina and LA did some trade deadline business. Last time it ended massively in the Hurricanes favor. Maybe that will happen once again this season.

    And finally, seconds before the trade deadline ended at 3:00 EST on Monday, John-Micael Liles was dealt to the Boaston Bruins, in exchange for prospect Anthony Camara, a 2016 third round draft pick, and a 2017 fifth round draft pick. With the Canes playoff hopes dashed, and the two UFAs traded on Sunday, there was no reason to keep Liles if there was interest. Ron Francis found some interest and got some assets in return.

    Cane of the Week:

    Carolina Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal
    Carolina Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal /

    Eric Staal – 2GP, 1A, +1

    This is a hard thing to do, saying goodbye. Especially when you’re saying goodbye to someone close to you. That’s what Eric Staal was. Staal is the Carolina Hurricanes and represents everything the franchise has stood and played for over the past decade.

    Staal’s career roared out of the gates. At one point, he and Sidney Crosby were the fresh face of NHL after both put forth 100 point seasons in 2005-2006. He continued being an offensive force, playing at or near point per game hockey for six years, eventually becoming the Hurricanes leader is basically every category.

    Of course, when he was there, Staal was amazing in the postseason, becoming the Hurricanes all-time post-season leading scorer, beating the Devils in the dying moments of a Game 7, and hoisting the Stanley Cup.

    These last couple seasons have not been great for Staal and it was clear a move had to be made. His captaincy was scarred by the poor teams around him and his declining output. It really is a sad way his time in Carolina to end. Both the fans and Staal could feel it coming. It was a mutual split that stings everyone.

    Yet, Caniac Nation and Staal must look forward. For Eric, he will get the chance to play (probably) in the playoffs once more with a contender in the New York Rangers. And for ‘Canes fans, be thankful for Eric Staal’s time with Carolina and give him the biggest ovation when the Rangers come and visit on March 31st.

    Honorable Mentions: Jeff Skinner, Ron Hainsey

    Next: Carolina Hurricanes Trade Eric Staal to the New York Rangers

    The Forecast:

    Tuesday 7:00 pm @ Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils

    Saturday 7:00 pm @ Amalie Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightening

    Even with all that happened this week regarding roster changes, there might still be more to come. The NHL trade deadline closes at 3:00pm February 29th, so Ron Francis might still try to move a piece or two before the day is out. The ‘Canes then go to New Jersey. Since Carolina has basically fallen out of the playoff race, this game has lost its importance.

    A win for the Hurricanes could shake some things up for the rest of the Eastern Conference though. Finally, after a decent break, Carolina travels to Tampa. The Lightening are currently on a tear, so expect stiff competition for the Hurricanes.