Jordan Staal: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

Jordan Staal: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

For anyone catching up, a menu of previous player (and also coach and GM) report cards can be found at the bottom of the article. Jordan Staal’s starting point for the 2016-17 season In his third season with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015-16, Jordan Staal had his best season wearing red, black and white. His season was nothing special out of the gate, but he was front and center when the team finally found the ignition switch in early December. Flanked by Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil, the line seemingly light on high-end talent and recognized names was the team’s best on many nights during a surge that lasted from early December through late February. Jordan Staal led the way collecting and winning loose pucks in the defensive zone and serving as a one-man break out that regularly carried the puck through the neutral zone and was able to make a play at the offensive blue line to keep possession entering the offensive zone. When the dust settled on the 2015-16 season, Staal had collected a respectable (second on the team) 48 points, reestablished himself as a shutdown center and staked a strong claim to being the Hurricanes’ most valuable player for the season.   Jordan Staal’s 2016-17 season with the Carolina Hurricanes The 2016-17 season started with some uncertainty for Staal. After a serious back injury in late February of 2016, Andrej Nestrasil’s readiness to start the 2016-17 season was in question. Nestrasil ultimately made the opening night lineup but was unable to find the level he played at before his injury. Nordstrom also started slowly, and very...
Jordan Staal: Evaluation based on role and situation

Jordan Staal: Evaluation based on role and situation

Jordan Staal started the 2015-16 season a bit slow. His scoring was light just like 2014-15, but for me it was more about him just not being a physical presence often enough and playing the shutdown brand of hockey that is his foundation as a hockey player. It is not that he was bad in October and November, it is just that I was hoping for something more like…well December and January. Coinciding nearly perfectly with the team turning around its season was the surge of Jordan Staal. He has pretty consistently been 1 of the 3-4 best (if not the single best) players on the ice in many games. On slow scoring nights, he and his line mates Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil are playing as many minutes as possible against the opponents’ best lines and giving up very little. And they are driving possession in the offensive zone such that it often builds momentum for the next shift when the other team spends 40 seconds playing defense or battling for pucks in their own end before trying to get to the red line to dump the puck and give up possession in the process to get a line change. This wins a shift and sets up the next 1 with a great starting point. Canes fans who watch the Hurricanes game in and game out and appreciate how well Jordan Staal is playing right now, but I am not sure the rest of the hockey world does. The trolls take a quick look at his scoring totals and start bashing him based upon his salary. It is...
Jordan Staal – Workhorse in the middle

Jordan Staal – Workhorse in the middle

At the point when the NHL became populated with three Staal brothers (plus Jared in the AHL), talk started about the possibility of them uniting. Hurricanes fans of course pegged this meeting for Raleigh. Two-thirds of that (three-fourths if you count Jared) came to fruition on June 22, 2012 when the Canes paid the hefty price of Brandon Sutter, recent second-rounder Brian Dumoulin and the Canes 2012 first round pick (#8 overall). On that HUGE day in Jordan Staal’s life, he was married and started a new chapter with a new team in his NHL career. Shortly after the trade Staal signed a ten-year deal with the Hurricanes and also gained an assistant captain role positioning him to be a part of the team’s core for a long time to come. Jordan Staal adds a physically imposing presence for the Canes first or second line and the elite shutdown capabilities that he developed in his 3rd-line role behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh. Whether you want to label him an elite shutdown center, a two-way player or whatever else, he brings a physical presence and a difficult matchup for even the elite players of the NHL. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season which was his first as a Hurricane, Staal had ten goals and 21 assists in 48 games. He followed that up with 15 goals and 25 assists in 82 games in 2013-14. The Canes then learned just what he meant for the team’s lineup when he missed the first half of the 2014-15 season with a broken leg. The team floundered without him eating up a...
What role for Jordan Staal?

What role for Jordan Staal?

Reports heading into the Carolina Hurricanes training camp last September were that both Eric and Jordan Staal were entering camp in the best shape of their hockey lives and ready to roll into the 2014-15. Those plans were destroyed when Jordan Staal twisted awkwardly and broke his leg in a preseason game. The effect on the team was brutal. Already light on depth at forward, the Canes stumbled out of the gate to the tune of an 0-6-2 start and were more or less out of playoff contention about 20 games into the 40 that they expected to be without Jordan Staal. The team was noticeably better when Jordan Staal finally stepped into the lineup on December 29 at almost the midway point of the season. His six goals and 18 assists in 46 games (43-point pace for 82 games) was nothing to write home about especially when you coupled with the fact that Peters went top-heavy with his lineup pairing the Staals and usually using the best option he could find at right wing.  But headline stats aside, it was obvious to anyone watching the team game in and game out that Jordan Staal made the Canes much better. And therein lies the dilemma with Jordan Staal and where he fits for the 2015-16 season. He is not a stereotypical first or second line center. He does not possess high end playmaking/puck distribution skills that drive scoring chances for his line mates like a Nicklas Backstrom. He is not a pure finishing type of center like Steven Stamkos. In fact, I think it is fair to say that...