Should the Carolina Hurricanes Trade for Former Captain Eric Staal?
We are just under a month away from the NHL’s April 12th trade deadline, and rumors of potential deals have started heating up around the league. One such rumor that has been getting some attention over the last few days involves the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes are flying high at the moment, becoming the first team in the league to reach 20 wins on the season on the back of an 8 game winning streak, their longest in over a decade. They are banged up, however, as Teuvo Teravainen remains out due to a concussion and head coach Rod Brind’Amour announced this weekend that leading scorer Vincent Trocheck is expected to be out for the foreseeable future. Starting goaltender Petr Mrazek remains out as well, though Alex Nedeljkovic’s stellar play has made that less of a concern. As such, the Canes have apparently begun searching for some forward help on the trade market as they gear up for another playoff run. Over the weekend, NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the Hurricanes have had internal discussions about bringing back former captain Eric Staal. The Sabres, Staal’s current team, will almost certainly be sellers at the deadline as they currently sit last overall in the league standings. Several other teams are expected to be interested as well. So, should the Hurricanes make a move for their former captain and Cup winner? The biggest concern with Staal is his fit with the current iteration of the Hurricanes. Under Brind’Amour, the Canes play a very fast paced, aggressive style of hockey, and Staal appears to have lost a step at 36 years of age. That said, if the price is right, Staal could be a great addition to the middle six. He’s struggled this season, with just 3 goals and 10 points in 26 games, but a large portion of that can be chalked about to the lack of talent elsewhere on Buffalo’s roster. In his 4 seasons with the Minnesota Wild before being dealt to Buffalo, Staal put up 111 goals and 240 points in 311 games. He scored 22 goals in 2018-19 and had 19 in 66 games before the season ended prematurely last year. Before this season, Staal had not failed to score at a 20 goal or 50 point pace since 2015-16, which was the year the Hurricanes traded him to the Rangers. Before that, he hadn’t failed to score at that pace since his rookie season in 2003-04. Staal may not be as quick as he once was, but he can still be a physical player that adds a scoring punch to a team’s middle six. Bringing Staal back to Raleigh would also be a great story. He would be reunited with his younger brother, Jordan, and Brind’Amour, his former teammate who he won a Stanley Cup with and eventually inherited the captaincy from. At the very least, it’s a situation worth watching.