Canes coach says Staal brothers will begin on same line

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It’s a great story to see Jordan Staal and Eric Staal united on the Carolina Hurricanes, but not every sibling combo can click like the Stastny brothers once did and the Sedin twins do now. Still, Canes head coach Kirk Muller told Chip Alexander that he’s going to see if the two find on-ice chemistry by pairing them on the same line — at least initially.

“I think that’s the great opportunity with training camp, is to experiment,” Muller said. “We’ve got lots of (preseason exhibition) games. The first initial thing, right now, we definitely want to give them an opportunity to play together in those games and see if there’s chemistry.”

“Lots of times, until you put guys together … you know, you’ve got to get a feel for it. I know they have a little history from before. But I think it makes sense right now to start off with them and see how they work together.”

Who should play center?

Honestly, I’ve often thought of Eric Staal as a weak guy in the dot, but he managed an above-average 52.5 winning percent in 2011-12, better than Jordan’s 51 mark. Still, faceoff skills are far from the only concern when determining which player should take the center spot (their preferred position).

Both have some limited experience on the wing, so Muller might mull over* giving both a shot. Eric’s been in Carolina longer, is the superior offensive force and is the older brother (you can rank those factors in whatever order you’d like). Meanwhile, Jordan’s generally believed to be the better checker, which certainly matters considering the fact that center is the forward position with the most defensive responsibility.

Who plays with them?

A more intriguing question is: who do you line up with the Staal brothers?

Do you load up on the top line with cerebral youngster Jeff Skinner? Add a thrashing power forward like Tuomo Ruutu to the mix or opt for Jussi Jokinen’s hot-cold creativity? Or maybe go off the board a bit with a depth guy like Chad LaRose or Anthony Stewart to diversify your offensive threats?

***

Feel free to share you hypotheses, even if Muller’s free to experiment with all different kinds of combinations. If nothing else, it’s more fun to mess with these ingredients than what he had before.

* – Sorry.