Eric Staal is a name that should be familiar to the majority of Carolina Hurricanes fans. He served as captain, remains the team’s all-time leading scorer, and is the pride of the 2003 NHL draft among skaters. There is a strong argument to be made with Eric regarding his status as a Hall of Fame player. Does he belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto or is the Hurricanes legend not quite cut out for it?
Eric Staal played 1293 NHL games and had 441 goals and 593 assists for 1034 points in the National Hockey League over a 17-year career with five different organizations. He’s played with all three of his brothers at some point and has been a key contributor for the most part for his entire career. He holds the record for the most points and goals in a season by a Hurricane.
Staal also holds the Hurricanes’ team record since relocation for goals, assists, points, games played, short-handed goals, powerplay goals, and even some of the playoff records. His playoff point record was only taken this year, remembering Staal only played in 2 postseasons with the Canes. Staal was a major difference-maker for the Hurricanes and we know one day, his iconic number 12 will hang above the ice in PNC Arena.
Eric Staal is going to be remembered as a Hurricanes legend. However, could he be destined for something greater? There is a strong case to be made regarding Eric Staal as a possible member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is important to remember when talking about this that this is about more than just the NHL. It will consider his time in the world Juniors would Canada and his Olympic gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver.
Most recently captaining Canada in the 2022 Olympic Games, he has done a lot to serve his country on the ice. As a member of the exclusive triple gold club, Staal is a world juniors winner, an Olympic gold medallist, and a Stanley Cup champion. That is some rare company for the Thunder Bay, Ontario native to be in. However, that on its own is not good enough for a Hall of Fame career. How does he compare to his draft class?
From the 2003 draught class, nobody has more points than Staal. Nobody has more goals and only one player has more games played and that is the recently retired Dustin Brown. Eric Staal would come 4th in Hart voting in the 2005/2006 season as he led the hurricanes to capture Lord Stanley’s Cup. That was also the year Staal made the second All-star team and that was the best individual year of success in his career.
The argument with Eric Staal can go both ways. He’s not quite passed that 600-goal mark that makes him a shoo-in to the Hall, however, he’s got the stats in comparison to the people he came through with. He holds the records individually with an organization and he’s got three major pieces of silverware that he won with different teams he showed himself as a leader for both his country and his NHL team.
Staal might not be a player than Canes fans now look back on fondly. However, Eric led this team to the best of his abilities with poor management, poor ownership, and really only himself. He never said a bad word about the organization or the fans. He shouldn’t ever have to buy his own drinks in Carolina again. But as for his case as a Hall of Famer, what do you think?