RALEIGH, NC— Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed center Eric Staal
to a seven-year contract extension. The $57.75 million deal begins with the 2009-10 NHL season and extends through the 2015-16 season, paying Staal an average of $8.25 million per season.
“This is a great day for hockey in the Carolinas, to know that our franchise player will be with us for at least another eight seasons,” said Rutherford. “Eric has been a special player for us right from the start. We know that he is just coming into his prime right now, and will continue to grow as a player.”
Staal, 23, completed his fourth NHL season in 2007-08, leading the Hurricanes in goals (38), assists (44), points (82), games played (82), game-winning goals (7), power-play goals (14), power-play points (35), shots (310), takeaways (56) and total time on ice (1,774). He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player by the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and ranked tied for 11th in the NHL in goals (38), tied for 15th in game-winning goals (7), tied for 11th in power-play goals (14) and eighth in shots (310). The Thunder Bay, Ont., native served as an alternate captain for the Hurricanes and also led the team in multi-goal games (4), multi-assist games (10) and multi-point games (23). Staal appeared in his second NHL All-Star Game, and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after scoring a pair of goals and assisting on Marc Savard’s game-winner as the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 8-7 in Atlanta.
Drafted second overall by the Hurricanes in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Staal has appeared in 327 career games with Carolina, totaling 124 goals and 159 assists (283 points). He has missed just one game due to injury, and enters the 2008-09 season with a 254-game consecutive games-played streak. Staal established career highs in goals (45), assists (55) and points (100) during the 2005-06 season, when he set a franchise record for goals in a season by a center with 45. During the Hurricanes’ run to the Stanley Cup championship in 2006, he led all NHL skaters in points (28), assists (19), power-play goals (7), power-play assists (10), power-play points (17) and shots (87), setting franchise records for most assists, most points and longest point-streak in a playoff season.
Staal has also been involved with Canada in international competition three times: as a reserve for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, as a member of the gold-medal-winning Canadian team at the 2007 IIHF World Championships and as a member of the 2008 silver-meal-winning team at the 2008 IIHF World Championships.