Carolina Hurricanes: Adding Jordan Staal Makes Them Contenders

Conner Boyd@BoydCDerpCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 05:  Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes watches his team against the Montreal Canadiens during play at PNC Arena on April 5, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It wasn't really a huge surprise, was it?

Everyone saw it coming. It seemed destined from the moment Jordan Staal suited up for the Penguins and quickly became an elite player that Pittsburgh wouldn't be able to keep all of its star-power intact for too long.

Jordan Staal began expressing interest in a trade to the Carolina Hurricanes to play alongside his brother Eric Staal, who also plays center and is the captain of the team.

What did the 'Canes have to give up to the Pens in order to make this happen? Well, quite a bit. Kevin Allen at USA Today reports that the Pens received Carolina center Brian Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, a second overall pick in 2009 who just finished his career with Boston College, and the eighth overall pick in this year's NHL entry draft to acquire the other him.

Who came up with the better end of the deal? I think most sides are saying it was an even trade. The Pens got one of the best skaters in the draft with the eighth pick, they have a budding defensive star in Dumoulin and acquired a capable backup center in Sutter.

But Carolina got an added leader, a surefire boost to chemistry and one of the best young players in the game, who many are predicting will become an elite player with his enlarged role in Carolina.

Last season, Jordan Staal accumulated 50 points, evenly distributed between 25 assists and 25 goals. His career numbers are similar: 128 assists and 120 goals. He is a two-way player, a fast, physical skater, and is going to complement and help lead a team that has struggled to find its identity for the past two years.

What happens with Jordan Staal depends on what the 'Canes decide to do with his older brother Eric, who by himself is still considered one of the best in the game. Either one of the Staal brothers could be moved to wing so that they could play together. They could also switch between positions, or the team could simply make Jordan Staal the No. 2 center behind his brother. Either way, Jordan is going to make a huge impact on the team.

With a core consisting of Eric and Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen and Cam Ward, it's hard not to look at this team as a potential playoff team. They might even have enough to make a run at the Cup one more time, but that's purely conjecture. 

There is still a lot to be done this offseason, and the Hurricanes have made it loud and clear that they intend to get better, and that they are putting together a winning team. Look for them to remain active this offseason.