Eric Staal has one year remaining on his deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, who continue to struggle to start the 2014-2015 NHL season. Actually, struggle is putting it kindly, as the ‘Canes remain the only winless team in the league through the first month. Stall is almost 30-years-old, but still comes with solid production. While he must enjoy playing with Jordan – one of his two brothers currently in the NHL (Marc is with the New York Rangers) – Eric could be seen as an attractive trade piece for a team looking to upgrade its offense. One of those such teams happens to be the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will enter November in second-to-last place in the Atlantic Division. In fact, if you listen to TSN insider Darren Dreger, the Leafs may be willing to overpay for Eric Staal, that is, if the Hurricanes decide to listen to offers and risk a potential Staal brothers reunion in 2015, with Jordan under contract for several more years and Marc eligible to hit the open market after this season.
“Very interested,” Dreger said of the Maple Leafs’ potential interest in Staal during an Insider Trading segment Tuesday night. “The key word is ‘if,’ ‘if Eric Staal is available.’
“I know this, the Maple Leafs have had discussions with the Carolina Hurricanes in the past, most recently in the summer about the potential availability of the Hurricanes captain. Now the asking price if Eric Staal is available at any point this season prior to the NHL trade deadline is going to be enormous. It would include a first-round pick, you’re talking about either Tyler Bozak or Nazem Kadri – because a center would have to go back – and likely Jake Gardiner. But I believe that’s a price that Toronto would be willing to pay.”
Carolina would be foolish to turn down such an offer, provided Toronto truly is willing to part with such a package. Chris Peters of CBS Sports agrees.
“But the Hurricanes are going to have to start considering their options,” writes Peters. “Eric’s brother Jordan Staal is under contract through the 2022-23 season and their other brother Marc Staal could head to unrestricted free agency this season if he doesn’t re-sign with the New York Rangers. There’s a chance they could all be reunited if the stars aligned just right and they were all willing to stay in Carolina together. That’s a big hypothetical at this point.
The other option is to use Eric Staal as a trade chip to truly start rebuilding. And a full rebuild may be what is required of Carolina with a prospect pipeline that does not currently create a belief that there are brighter days ahead for this organization.”
At this point, nobody knows what the future holds for any of the Staal brothers, sans the fact that only Jordan is under contract past this season. Carolina could look to extend Eric and bring in Marc next year. Or, they could continue playing with just two of the trio and allow Marc to sign elsewhere. But, the most likely scenario would have them looking to trade away Eric and look to use some of the players they receive in exchange to help Jordan build for the future with the Hurricanes.