Staal focused on re-signing with Hurricanes: 'I want to finish off my career here'
The Carolina Hurricanes season ended on Wednesday night after they were swept in the Eastern Conference Final by the Florida Panthers. It’s the third-straight season that the Hurricanes have won the division title but have failed to make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Longtime captain Jordan Staal is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, as he just played the final season of his 10-year, $60 million contract signed in July of 2012.
The 34-year-old said during his exit interview on Friday that he has no plans to play for another franchise and wants to continue his career in Carolina.
"I want to be here. I want to be a part of this group,” said Staal. “I love these guys and I love this organization. I want to finish my career off here.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere. I’ve obviously been here long enough and there’s no reason to leave. We have a great group of guys and a great team and it has been a pleasure to be a leader here and be part of these guys.”
Staal has been with the Hurricanes since being traded from the Penguins in June 2012 and has been captain of the club since the 2019 season. The Thunder Bay, Ont, native scored 17 goals and 34 points this past season, his 17th in the NHL.
The Hurricanes have several key players set to become unrestricted free agents, including Staal, forward Jesper Fast, and defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere, and goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta.
However, Staal said that he would work on a contract that allows the club to be flexible with their cap space as they try to add pieces to an already potent lineup.
“We’ll see how that goes. I’m not sure about the numbers and the details and whatever helps the team moving forward with the (salary) cap,” Staal said. “We’ll find something that works for both parties and we’ll move on to bigger and better things here soon.
“I’m sure we’ll find a way to get a deal done now that we’re finished here and we’ll hopefully check off some unfinished business here.”
The Hurricanes (52-21-9) made the playoffs for the fifth-straight season under Rod Brind’Amour and finished with the second-best record in the league.
Staal, a cup winner with the Penguins in 2008-09, has 275 goals and 373 assists in 1,173 career games with the Hurricanes and Penguins. He was selected second overall by Pittsburgh in the 2006 NHL Draft.