Mike Maniscalco

Breaking down the Jordan Staal deal

Posted June 23, 2012

— The Carolina Hurricanes trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins that brings Jordan Staal to the Triangle was the biggest news from the first round of the NHL Draft. Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford has been trying to find a player that can help take the burden off team captain Eric Staal, and with a thin free agent pool this July, the team made the move to bring in Eric’s younger brother.

Like every trade, teams have to give up something good to get something good in return. In this case, the Canes gave up alternate captain Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft that the Pens used on another defenseman in Derrick Pouliot.

John Forslund Forslund: Trade should engergize Eric Staal

The near-term analysis is that the Canes get the best player in the deal, a 23-year-old forward with size, speed and skill who is entering his prime. That is something the organization has needed. The Canes also get a player to potentially play alongside Eric Staal. The fact the Jordan is the younger brother of Eric certainly had a factor in the Canes interest and willingness to pay the price to add him to the organization.

Jordan Staal is a complete player. He uses his size and speed to create scoring chances for his teammates, and when he was called upon to play in a scoring role he was able to fill that in Pittsburgh. Defensively, he is as sound as you can get in the NHL and is a top penalty killer. He has 13 shorthanded goals in his career, and was starting to emerge as a decent power play component for the Pens.

The big question – is Jordan Staal a number one center?

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin fill that role in Pittsburgh – Staal was to the Pens what Brandon Sutter was to the Canes. A clue might come from last year, where Staal piled up 50 points in 62 games in the number two hole with Crosby on the shelf for a majority of the season. Jim Rutherford also said that it is up to head coach Kirk Muller on if the Staal brothers play together.

Jordan Staal is set to be an unrestricted free agent next year, and after rejecting a major offer from the Penguins, a trade seemed imminent. So should Canes fans worry that signing Jordan will be a problem? My feeling is that Jim Rutherford would not have given up all of that talent that is under contract if he felt there isn’t a long-term deal that will be reached quickly with the younger Staal.

Rutherford even said that contract talks will get underway in early July. I would imagine the Canes will give Jordan a nice wedding gift with his new deal. If you missed it, Staal was getting married as he was being traded to Carolina. Carolina Hurricanes Logo More Hurricanes Stories

Pittsburgh gets three players in return, the big piece being Brandon Sutter. People in Carolina know exactly what player the Pens have picked up, and Sutter steps right into a role he can play from day one. Sutter will be asked to do what Jordan Staal did, be a solid two-way player that kills penalties and contributes enough offense to balance the Pittsburgh's lines. Sutter is mature beyond his 23 years, was a good locker room guy and a competitor. The Pens get a player back in this deal that does just about everything for your team that the player you dealt can. Sutter will also get a chance to provide some more offense playing in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh also gets prospect Brian Dumoulin, a big bodied blue-liner that won a national championship at Boston College. Jim Rutherford feels that Dumoulin will be a player in the NHL for years to come. The Pens were looking for player of that type and could give him a shot as soon as this season.

Derrick Pouliot, who was taken with the first round selection, is years away, but a top 10 pick is expected to play in the NHL.

So who gets the better of the deal? That is impossible to say 5 minutes after any trade happens. Carolina gets what Jim Rutherford wanted this summer, muscle and skill up front to play with Eric Staal. They also add a player with post-season experience who is a winner and should fit seamlessly in the locker room.

Pittsburgh in return gets in Sutter the same type player who they just traded, so the pressure is on Jordan to produce for the Canes. The Pens also add two other players to the defense corps that should be NHL players, Dumoulin sooner than Pouliot.

This really is a rare case where both teams acquire what they need. If you look to who wins for this upcoming season, the Canes are the winners. Staal should have a big year playing alongside his brother. That doesn’t mean that the Pens are losers. Three years from now, Pittsburgh can have three players in their line-up that could be key pieces in winning another Stanley Cup.


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  • jazzmanjim Jun 27, 2012

    View quoted thread

    While Sutter is a good player I do not think he would have been or may never be a 1st line center. I think he could be a quality 2nd line player, but time will only tell with that. Jordan and Brandon do have the same skill set but Jordan is much better at them. He is especially better on the offensive side. I really see Jordan potentially being a 65 to 70 point player. Brandon will probably float around 50 points. I am a huge Brandon Sutter fan, but I am just being realistic.

  • viking416 Jun 24, 2012

    When all is said and done the Hurricanes are a better team today then they were last week. I think they should still be looking at the free agent market to get someone to play on Eric's wing. I hate losing Sutter but J.Staal has a better offensive upside without a doubt. He can also play the 2 way game and PK. It will be a few years before we really know how this trade trade played out with regard to prospects. In the immediate we got Staal and gave up Sutter and that is a winner imho.

  • wlcat609 Jun 23, 2012

    A word of caution as I see the trade. If Jordan does indeed play on the top line with his brother, he will be facing much tougher defensive opponent line than he did playing on a 2nd or 3rd line in Pittsburgh. Next having just gotten married will probably take some of the focus away from his hockey game and he did not face this distraction in Pittsburgh - as all newly weds find out there is a rather lengthy adjustment period when one ties the knot - so don't expect miracles right away. And while this trade may have solved the 'player with Eric Stasl' situation, it didn't do much to fix the 'D' problem which has been a Canes weakness for the past several years. And the final fly in the ointment might be the CBA situation and possible lockout and its effect on the NHL.

  • Lost and Loaded Jun 23, 2012

    Quality doesn't come cheap, Jordan is a talented offensive threat, but again the price was stiff. Canes lose a competent defenseman and one of the best young players in the league with Sutter, not to mention a rather high draft pick. We hope the Canes have finally found someone to complement Eric, picking his brother would seem the best way to do that.
    Actually moneywise, losing the 8th pick actually makes more cash available for signing free agents - so there is a method to the madness. The Canes have proven to be fairly sharp when it comes to making draft picks, but slightly less successful in developing them to full potential.

  • mike28 Jun 23, 2012

    While I am happy to get Jordan, I think the Canes paid too big of a price tag. Why not just move Sutter to the top line to play alongside Eric? Sutter is one of the best two way players in the NHL and was a leader for this team at a very young age. Is this really the best trade the Canes could have made? Time will tell if it works, but right now it is a big thumbs down from me...

  • StunGunn Jun 23, 2012

    While I'm happy to have another Staal on the Canes roster, it seems the Canes gave up more than they got. Giving up Sutter AND the #8 pick is a lot, and the Canes even coughed up two more players for this trade. Time will tell if this was a win-win for the Pens and Canes. I'd like to see Marc Staal join his brothers. How's that for a "hat trick" of Staals!

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