When it was announced the Pittsburgh Penguins had traded Jordan Staal, it came as a shock that he would move from a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to join the Hurricanes. Carolina is the home of his oldest brother Eric Staal, who also happens to be the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. Uniting brothers, one trade at a time.
Both brothers are talented centres that play very different games in terms of style. How could one team be so lucky as to have two Staal brothers on their team? Two, that have proven themselves in the NHL. The Hurricanes traded for youngest Staal brother, Jared, in 2010. That’s a 75% success rate on confining the Staal brothers to one state.
Jordan is 6’4″, 215 lbs and a master when it comes to working the boards. Sure, his big body helps him, but his phenomenal puck-handling and defensive-offensive skills that earned him a Selke Trophy nomination in 2010 (the award went to Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk for the third year in a row) deserve credit as well.
A key component to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Championship, Jordan played 431 games, wracking up 248 points. During the 2009-10 season, after winning the cup, he was a career high plus-19 in his third straight season playing the full 82 games. Consistency in productivity is never a problem for Jordan. This is the same case for brother Eric.
Eric Staal entered the league with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003-04. Under the wing of Rod Brind’Amour, two time Selke Trophy winner and 2006 Stanley Cup Champion, Eric was in good company. Brind’Amour served as Hurricanes captain for almost 5 seasons before turning the ‘C’ over to Eric. Brind’Amour retired that season with 1,484 NHL games and 1,184 points. A great mentor for a young Eric Staal.
Standing at 6’3″, Eric is a dominant centre in the NHL. His dedication to the game speaks for itself when he has played 7, 80-plus game seasons out of 8. Often overlooked, Eric’s stats speak for themselves. In 657 games played, he has tallied 592 points. That is exactly 0.9 points per game – a fraction away from a career with a point-per-game.
This season, Eric has 18 points in 15 games. Looking at every other season on his track record, he has been able to achieve point-per-game status in every season but his first. The consistency he is able to maintain through his career automatically gives him elite status as a dangerous NHL centre.
Both natural leaders and examples of dedication to their sport, Jordan and Eric have both been able to win Stanley Cups with their respective teams before playing four seasons in the NHL. That is an impressive feat in and of itself. I mean, just look at the game they set up in Thunder Bay, and tell me you don’t wish you had some of their accuracy.
Imagine a team where Eric Staal is your number-one centre, Jordan Staal is your number-two centre, and Tuomo Ruutu is your third line centre. Seems pretty daunting down the middle. And I won’t forget about off-season acquisition Alexander Semin who signed a one year deal. That, accompanied with the Calder Trophy winner of 2012, Jeff Skinner. The team is sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference. Starting off shaky, the Hurricanes are starting to pull ahead and beginning to live up to pre-season expectations.
Learning from the best – in Eric’s case Rod Brind’Amour, for Jordan’s, Sidney Crosby – the Staal’s have been able to reach a compete level that rivals the rest of the centres in the league. To be able to play a full season or almost a full season consistently shows the dedication and work put in that rubs off on the guys around them. As somewhat of a sleeper pick on fantasy teams, let me tell you that Eric is a dominant performer and will help your fantasy team rise to greatness. Or, help you not finish last. With 13 career hat tricks, his value is unparalleled. In other words, if you drafted 6th, you better have drafted him on your team.
Two elite players, who happen to be brothers, have joined forces in Carolina to bring another championship to Raleigh. The Hurricanes have something here that most teams can’t say they have: two proven, consistent producing centres.
Katie Flynn is a News Editor at theScore and theScore App as well as an NHL Analyst for H4TV Sports News.