Philip Botti The Hockey Writers
Checking in on Eric Staal
Coming into this season Eric Staal’s play was an important point of discussion when it came to the Carolina Hurricanes success. The thought was for the Hurricanes to succeed they would need a big season from their captain. It is now early January, and the ‘Canes are in last place, but how has their captain played? Eric Staal is leading the team in points, and the team is starting to heat up and win more games.
Before the 2-1 shootout win the ‘Canes on Sunday, Eric Staal was on a 4-game point streak. In three of those games, Staal registered points against the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Staal recently saw the return of his line-mate and brother Jordan Staal add a boost to the play of the teams first line. In whole, Eric Staal has 22-points and tied for the team lead in goals with 10. E.Staal’s point total are not at the top of the league in individual scoring but these 22-points have come on a 12-win team.
Eric Staal wins the helmet. Breaks his 4-game point streak but wins the game in a shootout. Khudobin with back to back wins-1st start vs Bs
— Chantel McCabe (@NHLChantel) January 4, 2015
Comparing Last Season’s Point Totals
Lets look at Eric Staal’s stats from last season. In a considered “down” year the captain, he totaled 61-points. He had 33-points in the first three months of the season with 10-goals. Comparing this point last season, he has been consistent in his ability to get the puck in the net. The total points are down for E.Staal, but the goals are about the same. Does this mean he is having another “down” season?
What Eric Staal Really Means to the ‘Canes
Looking at his point totals makes it easy to point fingers at Eric Staal for the struggles that the ‘Canes are having this season. The problem with using points against him is that no one on the Hurricanes is scoring goals this season. As a team they are second to last in goals per game, and have only scored 74-goals as a team this year (which also puts them at the bottom of the league in total team goals). E.Staal is not putting up big numbers like his one 100 point season, and other career highs in points (82, 76, and 75 point seasons). Things are starting to look up though, and Staal brings more to this team then points.
Looking past the point totals
E.Staal has arguably been the best forward on the ice for the ‘Canes this season. The recent return of Jordan Staal to the lineup has given the team a dangerous first line threat combined with Elias Lindholm. The line gives the Hurricanes a legit power first line, which they have not had all season. Despite the scoring woes, the ‘Canes have been finding ways to win of late. Staal put in his 10th goal of the season which helped the ‘Canes beat the Flyers to turn around a losing streak. Eric Staal also added a game clinching shootout goal against the big bad Boston Bruins to extend the ‘Canes win streak to two games.
The Hurricanes have not been good this season, but all the blame cannot be put on Eric Staal. The captain has gone out and played hard in every game. He keeps his feet moving, and hasn’t given up in any of the teams loses this season no matter the score. So in the end, checking in on Eric Staal, I have to say I think he has been a fine player and captain for the ‘Canes this season. The return of Jordan Staal and his new line will help his points totals go up. The ‘Canes don’t look like they will make any trades to get better this season so its hard to see a complete turn around for the team. Hopefully more wins will come for this team who is battling hard in every game. How do the fans think Eric Staal has played this season?
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