Staal Leaving? Hurricanes Desperately Need Offense

Eric Staal summed it up nicely. Another goose egg went on the scoreboard Saturday night as the Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. It was the Hurricanes eighth time being shutout this season. That’s getting shutout at a pace of nearly 10% of their games.

It’s a wrap

The 2014-15 season for the Carolina Hurricanes is in the books. If you want to read about it, go to the library and look in the “mystery” section. The plot of the mystery centered around the continuously used phrase, “We didn’t start on time” and its companion, “We just didn’t have the energy tonight.”

As the Hall of Fame radio voice of the Hurricanes, Chuck Kaiton candidly answered when I asked how this can be with professional athletes, “That’s something that doesn’t compute.” (Read part two of my interview with the radio broadcasting legend at and find more of Chuck’s candid thoughts about the ‘Canes here: https://thehockeywriters.com/chuck-kaiton-absolutely-hockeys-best-radio-voice-pt-2/)

If a guy who has never missed a game broadcasting in over 35 years can’t figure out how professional athletes can “not have the energy,” how are the fans supposed to understand?

Oops

On July 31st, I wrote with confidence that the Hurricanes would be playing in June. The article was titled, “3 Reason the Carolina Hurricanes Will be Playing in June.” I added a bonus fourth reason.  I was incorrect. The ‘Canes will not be playing in June, or in May, or in late April.

One of my points for believing that the ‘Canes would make the playoffs was a confidence that a healthy Eric Staal would have a season that would match his potential and the expectations of fans. Unfortunately, this did not happen. His season has largely been a disappointment.

Staal leaving?

(Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)
Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal (12) and New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Eric Staal has one more year left on his large, superstar-sized $9 million plus salary. His lack of offensive performance this season has already led to speculation as to whether or not he will be with the team next year.  Saturday afternoon, NHL.com correspondent, Kurt Dusterberg posted an article entitled, “Eric Staal Uncertain About Future With Hurricanes.” Staal essentially says he wants to stay in Carolina, but if the team wants to trade him, he’ll “play somewhere else.”

Expressing a “willingness to listen if the team asks him to waive his no-trade clause,” Staal may or may not be in the future plans of GM Ron Francis. Staal not being in a Hurricanes sweater with the big “C” would be a shock to the system of many long-time ‘Canes fans. Others might find it to be a blessing if the Staal era comes to an end.

The truth is that Eric Staal has had less than expected production in the last few seasons. Yes he was dealing with injuries, but who in the NHL isn’t to some degree? In a year where he was purportedly healthy for most of the season, he has turned in a mediocre 54 points.

A look at others in the NHL who are making similar “superstar” salaries shows that 54 points is just not enough: John Tavares at 84, Sidney Crosby at 84, Vladimir Tarasenko at 74 to round out the top ten. Eric Staal at 54 is unacceptable.

Whether or not he is a Hurricane next year will be worked out in the off-season, but if so, this team desperately needs him to lead by example on the offensive side of the ice.

It’s the letter “S”

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)
Jeff Skinner was one of the hottest goal-scorers in the league  (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

Maybe Ron Francis needs to look at players whose last names begin with the letter “S” when deciding who to keep and who to try to move in the off-season. Having already mentioned Eric “S”taal, let’s look at Jeff “S”kinner and Alexander “S”emin. Both have also been gigantic disappointments this season.

Jeff Skinner gets a bit of a pass in my book. He had another concussion at the beginning of the season, his third. He’s still only 22 years old. His 31 points consist of 18 goals and 13 assists.

Skinner has had two season where he has scored 30 or more goals. He has a natural ability to find the net. Only time will tell if he can return to form after having suffered so many concussions in such a short career. As is the case with Eric Staal, some fans are disappointed with his season.

Alexander Semin has had a horrible season. His 19 points consist of 6 goals and 13 assists. Really? $7 million a year to bring  6 goals to the party? What is that? It’s horrendous is what it is, and Coach Bill Peters knows it is horrendous. This sums up Semin’s season pretty well:

https://twitter.com/schladtastic/status/587049571701944320

The off-season in Raleigh will be interesting. Who will Ron Francis move? Who will he keep? Will there be any trades? Will Ronnie draft well? One thing is for sure, the Hurricanes need to figure out how to put the puck in the net, or we will be having this same conversation again this time next year.