It's a Caniac thing.
As the Carolina Hurricanes made their first headline in over a month since their disappointing 2009-2010 season concluded April 11, it appears that finally the 'Canes' overdone —and frankly stupid —ad campaign may finally have sunk in on someone.
From the first glimpse, it seems clear that the Hurricanes made off pretty well with their 127th overall selection.
Jared Staal, the newest Hurricane, may be one of the biggest steals in a long time for Carolina, but yet, as most of their major payoff trades start out, was certainly only a minor one.
In his time in the farm system for the Coyotes, it is true that Jared displayed he has some areas to improve. However, he also showed off a glimpse of a spectacular kind of potential to perform at the NHL level, just like older brothers Eric (age 25), Marc (age 23), and Jordan (age 21).
Nineteen-year-old Jared will come to Carolina with three seasons of minor league experience. Following a spectacular season with the Thunder Bay Kings (non-NHL affiliated) back in 2005-2006, where he scored 49 points in 64 games, Jared came up to the OHL level.
His first season with the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves was relatively quiet, as Jared put up a miniscule three points and minus-seven rating in 63 games played. The next season, however, he began to pick up the pace, dropping down to minus-11 but scoring 21 times and assisting on 28 others in just 60 matches.
That spring, just after the 2008 spring season concluded, Jared finally made his first mark in the National Hockey League, as he was drafted with the 19th pick in the second round by the Phoenix Coyotes.
He then was selected to play in the '08 NHL Top Prospects competition, and scored a goal...just another step along the way to (hopefully) an opportunity to play on the biggest hockey stage in the world.
He responded to this accomplishment by putting up his biggest numbers in his third season with Sudbury, posting 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in only 67 games.
Entering the 2008-2009 campaign, the Coyotes had begun to find out what kind of player Jared was, and were almost ready to bring up him up to their American Hockey League affiliate for good (he had played five games with the San Antonio Rampage the season before), just one step below the NHL.
Although his offensive production and speed at right wing had been displayed brilliantly with the Wolves in the previous three years, they knew that Jared needed to become more aware of his defensive responsibilities, as his negative-35 career +/- rating showed.
While working on him with this throughout the past season, Jared still managed to put up 47 points with Sudbury. However, even going into this summer, he still wasn't quite yet over the hump to becoming a regular AHL player.
This may be one of the reasons the Hurricanes were able to acquire him so easily...but, then again, who knows if that's truly a bad thing.
With Carolina, Jared appears poised to perhaps quickly enter the newly-formed Charlotte Checkers after likely starting out the season with the ECHL's Florida Everblades. Carolina's main training focus for Jared Staal will continue to be defense, but they will able to use his major 6'3" build to their advantage.
One thing is certain, the Hurricanes will have plenty of time to work with him. Not only is Jared still 19, but his latest three-year contract should keep him with the 'Canes organization for a while. The straightforward deal will pay $50,000 per year in the AHL, as well as $525,000 in the NHL level over the next three seasons, and also includes a $150,000 signing bonus.
What's certainly their hope is that, one day, whether that be next winter or 2015, Jared could form one of the most "connected" scoring duos in the all of the NHL with his brother Eric.
Eric Staal, that is...although you just might have heard of him before, considering he was recently awarded the captaincy for the 'Canes this past January...
However, this could be a tough task, considering that Jared still has a long way to go, both in talent and experience before this dream might be able to be fulfilled.
While Eric Staal continues to thrive with 30-plus goal seasons in the NHL, he may have to wait three or four years before he even gets a chance to play in the same game with Jared.
On the other hand, though, while brother Marc may be a better bet (although still a slim one) to join Eric on the ice next season (Marc is an RFA for the Rangers), the Hurricanes have Jared to work with, for now.
And that's a pretty big payoff for a fifth round draft pick that hasn't even been used yet...
All statistics courtesy of nhl.com or hurricanes.nhl.com.
Mark Jones is currently Bleacher Report's featured columnist and community leader for the Carolina Hurricanes as well as an avid hockey follower around the NHL. In his 20 months so far with the site, he has written over 190 articles and received over 135,000 total reads.
Visit his profile to read more.
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