The return of Eric Staal to Raleigh – 3 layers deep

The return of Eric Staal to Raleigh – 3 layers deep

Eric Staal’s time with the Carolina Hurricanes Exactly 1 year and 17 days have passed since Eric Staal was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the New York Rangers just prior to the 2016 NHL trade deadline. The move was a massive change and reset for the Hurricanes organization and fan base. In the summer of 2006 as a budding 21-year old superstar, Staal was right in the middle of the greatest time in Hurricanes hockey history. He led the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes in  points with 100 which is still a franchise high since the move to North Carolina and also led the team in scoring with 28 points in 26 games during the magical playoff run that culminated with the Stanley Cup being hoisted in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 19, 2006. With some turnover out of contract necessity and veterans departing overtime from the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion team, young stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward were expected to lead the next wave of Carolina Hurricanes’ hockey success. After a couple playoff misses following the Cup win, things got on track again in the 2008-09 season when an upstart Carolina team rode a combination of Eric Staal’s offensive leadership and strong late season play by Cam Ward and climbed into the playoffs. And what a playoff experience it was in 2009. The Hurricanes did not hoist the Stanley Cup again, but 2 stunning 7-game series wins with wild game 7 finishes on the road generated plenty of excitement and fan exhilaration before the Hurricanes bowed out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the...
Early look at potential destinations for Eric Staal

Early look at potential destinations for Eric Staal

First let me say upfront that I am NOT in the ‘Eric Staal is playing horribly right now, so he must be traded’ camp. His scoring is a bit light, but I think Eric Staal has actually been playing pretty good hockey overall. I also think he has quietly put the team first and lined up behind Coach Bill Peters’ plan. He has been a more regular fixture in front of the opposing goalie, and he has swapped back and forth between left wing and center without any grumbling about preferring to play center.   But 3 factors have me looking forward to an Eric Staal trade: 1) The team is gradually falling farther below the playoff cut line. It is too early to declare it completely over, but maybe soon not to early to start making decisions based on odds. 2) The team could use the salary relief with a rough season attendance-wise. Eric Staal makes $9.5 million this season so that breaks down in about $3.2 million for each third of the season. One third is over and already paid. The second third will lead up to the trade deadline. And the last third will be after the trade deadline. There is literally a couple million $ to potentially be saved depending on how much salary the Canes need to eat to make a deal work. 3) The return in terms of assets for rebuilding could be significant. I could see the scenario where Eric Staal leaves only to return next summer, but that is a decision for after figuring out the first 1 and seeing what...
Eric Staal contract situation on so many levels

Eric Staal contract situation on so many levels

Today on an otherwise fairly quiet rainy Tuesday in Raleigh, a bomb dropped about mid-day about a rumor that Eric Staal was asking for $9 million per year.  The article was on The Hockey News but the source was actually Renaud Lavoie from Le Journal de Montreal. Today’s story and this situation could be analyzed on seemingly a dozen different levels. The rumor I do not have the time to dig into Renaud Lavoie or Le Journal de Montreal’s credibility or track record on this kind of thing, but let me come at it more generally: 1) There has been a ton of noise coming out of Quebec for some time now much of it centered around Quebec City being a possible destination for the Hurricanes based on the team being for sale.  If you are not up to date or have read only “the sky is falling” articles on that topic, I suggest reading my post from earlier this summer HERE. This whole situation continues to puzzle me.  Quebec City is 1 of 2 finalists for what is expected to be 2 expansion teams.  The NHL is not putting 2 teams in Quebec City.  So ???? !!!!  More directly, there is a strange media agenda coming out of Quebec City right now with a spotlight on the Carolina Hurricanes, so I think that must be considered for this specific rumor and probably others. 2) At another level, this kind of thing will only intensify as the season rolls on with Eric Staal unsigned past this season.  And if Steven Stamkos re-signs in Tampa, I would expect a full Staal-mageddon to ensue...
Eric Staal – Young hero and long-time scoring and locker room leader

Eric Staal – Young hero and long-time scoring and locker room leader

Carolina Hurricanes history has been a rollercoaster ride that has seen the team rise up to the top of the NHL hockey world only to quickly fall back to its bottom. Eric Staal was the Canes reward for the fall from reaching the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals to missing the playoffs by a wide margin in the following 2002-03 season. On June 21, 2003, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Eric Staal #2 overall in the NHL draft. He arrived in Raleigh in the summer of 2003 with the expectation that he might need another year in juniors before jumping to the NHL. But Staal had other ideas. When he was amongst the league leaders in scoring for the NHL preseason and started reasonably strong in the regular season, it became impossible to demote him back to juniors. He had a modest 11 goals and 20 assists in that first season but benefitted from the experience. The 2004-05 lockout gave him the chance to hone his game and grow from what he learned as an NHL rookie in the AHL. When the 2005-06 started, he looked like a different player. Centering a line with playmaker Cory Stillman and space-making power forward Erik Cole, Eric Staal burst out of the gate in the 2005-06 season. At the 20-game mark, he had an astounding 12 goals and 16 assists. His pace ultimately slowed a little, but in a season that he started at the age of 20, he finished with 45 goals and 55 assists for an even 100 points which was good enough for eighth in the league in points and seventh...
Is Eric Staal at the same crossroads that Rod Brind’Amour was at in 2004?

Is Eric Staal at the same crossroads that Rod Brind’Amour was at in 2004?

It was the spring of 2004. The memory of the great Stanley Cup Finals run of 2002 had been mostly washed away by two painful seasons of disappointing Canes hockey. The Canes missed the playoffs in 2002-03 and was even worse in 2003-04. At the point where the 2003-04 season was unofficially categorized as another playoff miss, Rod Brind’Amour was a 34-year old veteran who was running out of time to etch his name on the Stanley Cup. There was plenty talk in the media that it might make sense for him to move on from the Hurricanes who seemed to be entering rebuilding mode. Jeff O’Neill, one of the team’s other offensive leaders, did end up leaving the team via trade heading to Toronto just before the 2005-06 season, so he could have a better chance to win the Stanley Cup (and also because of personal reasons). To this day, I still remember Rod Brind’Amour’s responses and increasingly bristly tone when he was asked about his desire to move on and join a Cup contender. He said all of the right things about the team definitely needing to play better.  He also regularly and noticeable used the words ‘we’ and ‘I’ including himself in that group. It is my personal interpretation of what was said and how, but I very much read an ownership type mentality into his answers.  And based on the way he seemed to be irritated about answering the ‘stay or go’ questions multiple times, I truly believe that he was not just saying the right words.  He meant them.  The Carolina Hurricanes were Rod Brind’Amour’s team. He was...