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Staal: One more elite forward and Carolina’s “among the top teams in the Eastern Conference”

Jul 10, 2012, 12:07 PM EDT

Eric Staal Getty Images

Eric Staal likes how aggressive the Hurricanes have been in acquiring talent this offseason.

Now he hopes it’ll continue.

After Carolina boldly pried Jordan Staal out of Pittsburgh and tried valiantly to get Rick Nash from Columbus, the ‘Canes captain feels like his team is on the verge of something big.

“For me, just the fact that we’re even in the mix, that we threw offers out there to these elite guys, is exciting,” Staal told the Raleigh News and Observer. “Sometimes you hear the same teams every year doing the same things. For us to be involved and make a pitch, it was big. We aren’t far off.

“We’ve got some very good pieces in place, and if we can add, like they’re saying, another elite forward, it will definitely put us in the mix among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.”

The question, of course, is if an elite forward can be acquired.

After Zach Parise went off the market, almost every NHL team (not located in Minnesota) shifted its focus to Shane Doan and Bobby Ryan. If the ‘Canes don’t win either of those sweepstakes — and based on the number of alternate suitors, it’ll be hard to — then it’s off to the scraps of free agency.

That’s important, because the type of talent Carolina needs might not be available. The ‘Canes best forwards are the Staals, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen which, for you mathletes out there, is only five guys. (All apologies to Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose.)

They need another to round out the top six, which is probably why they’ve expressed mild interest in Alex Semin. He might not be the elite talented needed to compete with the best in the East, but could be good enough to get Carolina back into the playoff picture.

  1. davebabychreturns - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Seems to me the Hurricanes could use a high end blueliner far more than a high end forward..

  2. lsxphotog - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I can’t say I agree with Staal on this one. They’re not one player away from being a New York Rangers…Boston Bruins…or Pittsburgh Penguins. They might make the playoffs and once you’re in, it’s anybody’s game. But the “top teams in the east” dominate the regular season and I don’t think the Hurricanes really have that in them.

  3. caniacx4 - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Geeezz, the way we bring back our ex’s, we should try to pry colzy out of Montreal!! He would be a great fit AGAIN for the Staals winger prob.

  4. anarchist9027 - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Elite would be one of the last words I use to describe the Canes for the last couple of year, regardless of the 1 cup win. They are pretty much in the same boat as the habs and maple leafs. Good but not great

  5. capesouth - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I always get the sense that Carolina is capable of making some sort of run…they have done that randomly in the past. But, with the goaltending they already have and the addition of one more elite player (forward or defense), I could see them competing this year..and definitely making the playoffs, given the division they are in.

  6. rsl22 - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Cam Ward, the Staal brothers, Jokinen and Skinner are a good start.

    I’d agree they need another forward, but they also need a really good defenseman. Ward is good, but you could see he needed some help last year.

    Also, Semin is a much better play-maker than people realize, it’s just that he’s always played on his own. He could make Eric a 90+ point guy again.

    • rsl22 - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Ha, what about my comment get’s thumbs down? Was it the comment about Semin making Staal a better player?

      Staal was a 100 point scorer with Ray Whitney and Justin Williams on his line. With Semin, he’d get a guy with speed and skill again.

      Also, for all the Semin haters….Staal is a career -33, Semin is a career +65….but I’m sure that will get some thumbs down as well, right?

      • capesouth - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        Trolls just do that no matter what. Watch…. I LOVE PUPPIES!

  7. mclovinhockey - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I gotta disagree with Staal. Their D really is nothing to be happy about right now. Maybe they can find gunner stahl from team Iceland and sign that guy… Although i think the world knows his shoot out move by now…

  8. jfullan89 - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I think everyone is forgetting the biggest factor….its Carolina, even with another player id honestly be surprised if they make playoffs.

  9. jpelle82 - Jul 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    the addition of jordan was huge, but they also lost a pretty valuable guy in sutter and an 8th overall pick…almost a 2 step forward one step back proposition. hopefully staal can stay healthy, i will miss him in pittsburgh but wish him the best. that being said, i would agree with his brother in his assertion that they still need one or two more guys. i thought chad larose was gonna be better than he has been by now, even though he almost scored 20 goals again, he needs to stay out of the box and he isnt ready for top 6 respect. some people think tlusty is first line worthy which is a stretch IMO even playing with either or both of the staals. i think they have to sign semin, just imagine the 6 games against the caps per year with semin trying to outduel ovechkin. they can get away with their defensive lineup as it is now, though i think it wouldnt have hurt to beat the caps to hillen (cheap solid depth) or even swung for the fences with carle. i like boucher as a backup. i think they can compete for the division but not the conference without the likes of semin or doan added to the mix

  10. dhawks19 - Jul 10, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Why don’t they trade corvo for a forward and sign him again next year

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