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Staal Signs for Seven

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Staal Tribute Video

The news is out - Eric Staal has signed a seven-year contract extension worth an average of $8.25 million per season through the 2015-16 season.

Paul Branecky
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That sounds like a really long time from now.  Fans of the Back to the Future series might remember 2015 as an era with flying cars and jackets that fit themselves to you at the push of a button.  Although that all seemed reasonable in the late '80's, I don't think we'll have those by the time Mr. Staal's new deal runs out.  The hoverboard is a real possibility, though.

Back to a serious note, this is big news for the Hurricanes for all the reasons that Mr. Rutheford pointed out yesterday.  As lucky as the team is to have a player of Staal's caliber here in the first place, they're even luckier that he genuinely wants to stay here.  A lot of players say that, but to sign now and forego the chance of a more lucrative deal via an offer sheet next summer speaks volumes.

”Since the minute I got here at 18 years old it’s been unbelievable," said Staal.  "I couldn’t imagine at this young age to be where I’m at.  My wife and I love the area.  We love Raleigh, it’s a great place to live.  We just feel so comfortable here.”

At the press conference, Mr. Rutherford made a great point about what happened the last time the franchise had a true star player and weren't able to hang on to him.

"One of the things that I thought about through this process, and this goes back before a few people in this room’s time, but when Ronnie Francis played for the Whalers at a young age, they let him go, and the Whalers were never the same after that," said Rutherford, who wasn't yet with the organization at that time.  "He went on to Pittsburgh and won a couple of Stanley Cups and had a great career.  I think the importance for a franchise when they get a star player like Eric, you need to keep that player or your franchise will get in trouble."

Not that he could have forgotten about that now with Francis as his right-hand man, but consider that lesson learned.

Before you go worrying about what this does to the team's salary cap this season, a nice feature of the deal is that it won't take effect until after his current one expires.  That means he'll still earn the $5 million he was scheduled to make this year, leaving the team's salary cap unaltered for now.

Here's the tribute video that was played before the press conference in case you missed it.  Some of you who caught the streaming feed may have experienced some audio problems - sorry about that.  We'll get everything fixed for the preseason.

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