Jordan Staal brings a lot to this team year in and year out, but as the Captain of the Carolina Hurricanes moving forward, he will have to step up his game.
I know what you are thinking, “oh boy, here comes Omar about to tear down another one of my favorite Carolina Hurricanes players, just leave them alone”. To which I say, relax, this article will be about what Staal can do in the future to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to the playoffs and perhaps even another Championship.
We have no idea how much of the 2019-2020 season will be salvaged as each passing day the crisis worsens and the timetable for saving the season looks more and more dire. So in that sense, let’s take a look towards next season and what Jordan Staal can do as Captain and as a player to help the team reach higher aspirations.
First of all, as the Captain of the team, Jordan Staal has done an excellent job. Even when Justin Williams returned in January he didn’t let that overshadow his leadership. And why would it? Not only has be been a leader in the locker room since his brother Erik was traded to the Rangers, but he has established himself as a leader on the ice as well.
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Now, many teams have their most skilled player wear the ‘C’. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and Jack Eichel come to mind. But for the Carolina Hurricanes, it has always been the player they valued the most in terms of actual leadership. Its why Justin Williams was named Captain last season.
They say that the Media picks your captain, and when it’s not Justin Williams they are crowded around, its Jordan Staal.
Now it would be easy for me to take apart Jordan’s season this year and say that he has not played well enough for the role of second center and his numbers have taken a tumble, if not a skydive. But the fact is, he isn’t a top-six center.
Luckily enough, the Carolina Hurricanes have added Vincent Trocheck before the trade deadline to fall into that role as the second center behind Sebastian Aho. In the last three games before the Hiatus, it showed how much that made a difference, not only for the team as a whole but also for Jordan Staal.
In the seven games played by Trocheck as a Hurricane that has allowed Staal to nestle into a third center role comfortably, Staal has four points on assists as well as his third multipoint game of the season. Now had the season continued, I would gather to say that Staal would have continued to put up points, and maybe even goals as the pressure on his lightens.
That lightened load on the Ice also would help him focus on captaining this Carolina Hurricanes team. Moving forward Staal needs to take advantage of having guys like Trocheck do the top six lifting while he performed with the limited minutes he needs to get on the scoreboard consistently and not only lead by his words, but by his performance.
Staal still has three more seasons on his contract and a full no-move-clause attached to it. Chances are he will wear that C for the rest of his career. It’s time for him to remind the fans and his teammates why Rod Brind’amour places his faith in him.
It starts in the locker room but it is completed on the ice.
Question for CC readers: Why do you think that Jordan Staal is an excellent Carolina Hurricanes Captain?