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Staal, Ward say they want to stay in Carolina

Apr 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

WardStaal Getty Images

After missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season, the ‘Canes know there are likely to be major changes this summer — changes that could include two of the most prominent faces from the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning team, Eric Staal and Cam Ward.

From the Associated Press:

Ward has been the subject of persistent possible trades after he was beaten out by Anton Khudobin. The team carried three goalies for the final month of the season, a rarity in the NHL.

“I definitely want to be a Hurricane moving forward,” Ward said.

He and Staal are the only remaining links to the Carolina team that won the Stanley Cup in 2006. They’ve only made the playoffs once since then, reaching the Eastern Conference final in 2009.

Asked if he could see himself going to another team, Staal said he has “never thought that, dreamed that or wanted that.

“I’ve been here a long time, I love it here and I’ve had success here and I know and I believe that we can again and I can be a part of that,” Staal said.

In late February, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that all three Carolina netminders — Ward, Khudobin and Justin Peters — were made available via trade, but that narrative shifted after Khudobin signed a two-year, $4.5 million extension just prior to the deadline, leaving Carolina’s financial situation in goal looking like this:


When Ward wasn’t moved at the deadline, the possibility of a compliance buyout came up. Carolina has yet to use one of its two and would save considerable cap space by utilizing it on the former Conn Smythe winner.

As for Staal, he was put on notice earlier this week in a piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, which claimed the captain acknowledged he’d lost the support of some ‘Canes fans:

It wasn’t anything Eric Staal said Tuesday, as he autopsied the Carolina Hurricanes’ failure for the fifth straight time as captain, that touched on the real problem. It was something he said Thursday night, after a heartless, soulless loss to the Washington Capitals that encapsulated every complaint fans have about this team.

“Whether people think that or not, I’m out there competing as hard as I can,” Staal said.

So there are no secrets here. Staal is aware the fans aren’t happy with what they perceive as a lack of effort and leadership, correctly or incorrectly, and he acknowledged Tuesday there’s work to be done to rebuild that relationship.

Compounding matters is Staal’s gigantic contract which, at $8.25 million, carries the NHL’s fifth-largest annual cap hit. Staal is a quality player but has seen his star power diminish over the last few seasons — as evidence, consider that he was named to the gold-medal winning Olympic team four years ago, yet failed to make the cut, even as a replacement, for the ’14 team that won it all in Sochi.

  1. stcrowe - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    If the Canes plan to rebuild, I can see trading Ward, but not Staal. Staal is part of the core that makes rebuilding relatively easier.

  2. killerpgh - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Would be a kick in the nuts to Jordan Staal is they traded Eric away. Especial since they overpaid to get Jordan when everyone knew he only wanted to go to Carolina and was going into his final year of his contract (also potentially lost season with lockout).

  3. mackattack29 - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Staal is still a top ten center. Just needs to get some consistent support on the wings. He’s good but he’s not sidney crosby good, he can’t produce like crosby does with no name players/career 3rd liners.

    • storminator16 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Nope. Him not having wingers isn’t an excuse anymore.

  4. trbowman - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Eric Staal is fine. They should be thankful for anyone willing to take Cam Ward off their hands.

    I really believe Muller is a lousy coach who misused his players and failed to get the most out of them. Guy hasn’t hacked it as a coach.

  5. tougie24 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    I don’t see them being able to move Ward. Too large of a contract, with too high of a salary, for someone who’s had trouble staying healthy. He’s still a good goalie, just not a great one. Same thing with Staal, still good, not great. And with that anchor of a contract, I don’t see him being moved.

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see them use both compliance buyouts on these two, and just start from scratch with the club. You clear them, get 14+ million to work with, that leaves a lot of room. I’d say Ward is more likely to go though, with the cap going up, Staal is slightly more affordable.

    • lordfletcher - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      If they’re starting from scratch they should move Skinner for a top pick in this years draft. I think the islanders would be a great trading partner as they could round out that top line for Tavares…. Food for thought is all… I wouldn’t blow it up till next year tho. See what the first 40 games in 2014/15 Has in store before you trade everytging

      • storminator16 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        LOL, no. They aren’t starting from scratch, they really can’t do that in that market. They have to retool and the best way to do that is to move Eric Staal.

      • lordfletcher - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        I didn’t say they were starting over, I said if…..

        Not that hard….

  6. storminator16 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Canes have to try something different, best thing they can do is move Eric for some useful, younger parts. If Jordan has a problem with it, he has 9 more years on his deal to live with it.

  7. mangoman1966 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Can only follow your brother so far. Jordan should have never left Pittsburgh. Was going to make a ton of money and had a ring. Better chance of winning another cup in steel town than Carolina.

  8. beergold - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Kessel, Phaneuf and Reimer for Ward and Stall!

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