The Fourth Period is reporting that teams are that are looking to add veteran depth ahead of the NHL trade deadline are also considering the option of signing unrestricted free agent forward Eric Staal. After the Hurricanes organization moved their former captain at the 2016 NHL trade deadline and traded him to the New York Rangers, could a reunion with the team leader in everything since relocation be on the cards?
Eric is well known in Raleigh. Being one of the two players still around from the 2006 team that won the Stanley Cup, the storyline of bringing back the old guard to aid the new generation of talent coming through is just a narrative I want to celebrate. Think about it, you’d have the top 3 producers in Carolina Hurricanes history working together this season. Eric Staal leads from Rod Brind’amour who’ll shortly be passed by Sebastian Aho.
Staal was the captain of the Canadian Olympic team when it took part in the games in Beijing earlier this year. He recorded one goal and three assists for four points in the five games he played. He had a brief stint with the Iowa Wild of the AHL for conditioning purposes before that and has remained a free agent since he was not re-signed by the Montreal Canadiens after their cup finals run last summer.
I think it’s safe to say that Staal knows his way around hockey at this point of his career. With 1293 NHL games played 441 goals, 593 assists, and 1034 points, the 2003 2nd overall pick leads his draft class in all of these metrics. Staal won the Cup with the Canes in 2006, putting up the best single-season totals by any player since the team relocated in 1997. He also won the 2010 Olympic Gold with Canada.
Staal is also responsible for some of the most clutch moments in the franchise’s history, especially in the playoffs. When you think back to the shock at the rock, it was Staal that scored that game-winner. When the Canes won game 2 against New Jersey after tying it up with 3 seconds left, that was Eric Staal. He’s been responsible for a lot of the great moments in the franchise’s history.
Staal is the organization’s all-time leader in Hat-tricks, short-handed goals, and shots. He’s second in points, assists, goals, even-strength goals, powerplay goals, game-winning goals, and third in games played for the franchise. Eric Staal is one of the best players in the franchise’s history, and with teams snooping around the free agent, it might be worth trying to bring number 12 home to Raleigh.