Jordan Staal was on the ice for a morning practice in preparation for the Canes game against Tampa Bay. Seeing number 11 on the ice reminded Carolina that they will have their assistant captain would return (hopefully) in beginning of the new year. The Hurricanes are faltering and will be in running for the number one pick in the draft. The return of Jordan Staal might throw a wrench into that losing, but how much will the return of Staal effect the season? Can Staal put a team that has lost 12 one-goal games on the other side of the win-loss column?
Will help the ‘Canes scoring drought
Last season Jordan Staal had only 9-points in October and November. He added 10 more points through December giving him 19 points to start the season. We are almost half-way through December this season and his brother Eric Staal has 15 points while missing the first three games. The team cannot score goals now, and adding a player that isn’t known as a huge goal scorer won’t make a huge difference for one of the worst scoring teams in the league…right away. It will take Staal some time to get comfortable in the lineup, but the bright side is he started to heat up in the later months of last season. He scored 8-goals in March, and contributed a total of 12-points. Putting hope aside, Staal brings more to the team in defensive play, and special teams than he does in scoring goals.
He is jumping into a new system
Jordan Staal hasn’t played any regular season games in Bill Peters new system. Peters system might benefit Staal a lot and he could fit perfectly into what the head coach wants this team to do. The only problem is it will take some time for Staal to adjust. Throwing a big intelligent player cannot hurt any team, but will Staal be the same player after suffering the worst injury of his career? Bill Peters system involves a lot of possession hockey, which can help add to the physical two-way game that Staal plays. As I said before, the issue is that one player is not going to make a system completely work.
Help putting people in the seats
The ‘Canes are having trouble drawing crowds at home. Staal is a big name in the NHL, and the idea of seeing the two Staal brothers play together can help bring people into the arena. It adds another element that helps sell tickets, but will Staal produce on the ice for the ‘Canes. Looking at his stats since getting to Carolina, J. Staal has played well at home, and most of his points have come at PNC Arena. In his career with the ‘Canes, Staal has 29-points at home, and is a +7 at PNC. Even if the ‘Canes keep losing, putting another big name in the lineup will give fans something more to cheer for. The return of Jordan Staal will help draw more fans in the stands. The return of Staal could be a great Christmas present for the organization.
If you missed it on Hurricanes Live, Peters said Jordan Staal could play before Christmas!!! What a present that would be!
— Chantel McCabe (@NHLChantel) December 12, 2014
Can the ‘Canes still salvage the season?
Stats aside, the ‘Canes aren’t winning hockey games. In the NHL that is the only thing that matters. When Jordan Staal was brought in to play with his brother Eric, I had thoughts of a Sedin like combination. That might be far-fetched as Jordan Staal plays a very different game then the Sedin twins, but it was always in the back of the mind. Nothing close to that has happened and the ‘Canes are still losing. We can look back at the trade and situation surrounding the team now, but that is not important. Presently the ‘Canes are still losing games. They need a punch to their lineup if they have any hope to try to dig themselves out of last place, but do they really want to do that? With big hype surrounding the top two picks this season is tanking better for the ‘Canes? Could adding Jordan Staal to the lineup win the ‘Canes more games and push them out of the gutter of the league and away from those top two picks? I don’t think so. No one can argue that Staal is a solid two-way player that can help any team he is on, but he is not going to fix all the problems with ‘Canes right now. The upside is having another big name in the lineup might help bring fans back into the stadium, and get people excited about things to come from the ‘Canes. Below is the last goal ‘Canes fans got to see from Jordan Staal last season.
Philip is a Sports Journalist covering the Pittsburgh Penguins. Duquesne University Journalism Grad 2013.