Though it won’t be Eric, the ‘Canes could still have a Staal serving as team captain.
Jordan Staal — Eric’s younger brother, who remains in Carolina after his brother departed at the trade deadline and since signed in Minnesota — recently told 99.9 The Fan it would be a “great honor” to inherit the role his brother held for six seasons.
“It’s a big deal. To be a captain of an NHL team is huge,” Staal said, per WRAL Sports Fan. “When you grow up, you dream of just playing in the NHL never mind being the leader of a group.
“There’s no question it would be a great honor for anyone on this team to accept that responsibility.”
Though it might seem odd to give Jordan the “C” after Eric’s departure — he said there’s still a strange feeling about not having his brother in Carolina — the move would made sense on a number of fronts.
— Jordan is one of Carolina’s longest-tenured players, having appeared in nearly 300 games over the last four seasons.
— He’s served as an alternate captain since 2012.
— He’s actually coming off a nice campaign. Jordan hit the 20-goal plateau for the first time as a ‘Cane, after hitting that mark four times as a Penguin, and finished with 48 points in 82 games, receiving a handful of Selke votes.
One also has to consider that, at 28, Staal is a virtual graybeard. Carolina projects to be an extremely young team next season and while it does have some older guys in Ron Hainsey, Cam Ward, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell, it’s tough to see any of them (outside of maybe Hainsey) playing as integral a role as Staal.
‘Canes GM Ron Francis said he and head coach Bill Peters have discussed who will serve as the team’s next captain, but aren’t locked into the idea of starting the season with one.
“We’ll be very patient going into the season (and) see how things play out,” Francis said back in July, per the News & Observer. “If we’re comfortable putting the ‘C’ on somebody we’ll do that.
“If we want to take the route of multiple assistant captains we’ll look at that as well.”