Somehow, having two Staals in the same organization always seemed inevitable. Today, the Hurricanes made that a reality.
The team acquired the rights to Jared Staal
, who at 19 years old is the youngest of the four brothers, from Phoenix on Thursday in exchange for Nashville’s fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. He was originally chosen in the second round, 49th overall, by the Coyotes in 2008.
”It’s a great family and a very talented family,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Staals. “From our perspective it’s a good fit, and I think playing with Eric will help push Jared and give him a little bit of a comfort level coming in.”Jared Staal
, who at 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds is very similar in stature to his brothers, said he knew there was a possibility that he might be traded around this time but did not learn of his destination until shortly before the official announcement. Joining Eric with the Hurricanes, not to mention Jordan and Marc in the Eastern Conference, was an added bonus.
“It was bound to happen that we’d cross paths eventually,” he said. “It’s pretty neat, and it will be a lot different going to the rink and seeing your brother.”
Jared recently completed his fourth full season with Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League, where he tallied 49 points in 59 games. He finished the season with his the second brief AHL stint of his career, posting one assist and two penalty minutes in five games.
While it’s easy to imagine the youngest Staal patrolling his natural right wing on a line with Eric – as kids, the two would routinely pair up against their brothers on the outdoor rink in Thunder Bay – there is still some work to be done in that regard.
First, there’s the matter of getting him signed. If the Hurricanes are not able to do so before June 1, he would then re-enter the draft at the end of that month. However, given the obvious ties to the organization – he first met the team’s management as a 12-year-old when they chose Eric in 2003 – that should not be a problem.
“I wouldn’t imagine there would be a lot of difficulty there in getting him signed,” said Karmanos.
Also, Jared’s development curve is thought to be different than that of his brothers, who all entered the NHL very quickly. Eric and Jordan did so immediately upon being drafted, while Marc, a defenseman, was playing big minutes with the New York Rangers just two seasons later.
”We think it’s a situation where Jared is a player that develops on a longer-term schedule,” said Karmanos. “Our scouts feel that his skating and his strength need to improve, but having the hands and the frame that he has is a good start.”
”There’s been some ups and downs (since being drafted), but I felt like my last stint in the AHL went well and I felt much more comfortable,” said Jared, who describes himself as more playmaker than scorer. “I’m still learning to use my size as an advantage, and hopefully I can be a good power forward in the NHL.”
Despite his pedigree, the Hurricanes will be cautious in comparing the newest Hurricane to his brothers. Prior to Thursday’s trade, Eric would often lament the amount of pressure that was naturally placed on Jared following the successes of his family members.
Jared acknowledged that he has been treated differently than other prospects due to those bloodlines, but feel that hasn’t hurt his development of his chances of joining them in the NHL.
“It was a good thing to have more eyes on you and people watching,” he said. “It’s nice to have three older brothers in the NHL, and that’s nothing to be frustrated or mad about. I actually get a lot of insights about what goes on and what you have to do to be successful, so I think it’s much more of an advantage than a disadvantage.”
Once he signs with the Hurricanes, Jared is expected to attend the team’s conditioning camp in July and play with the team’s entry at the Traverse City prospects tournament in September. After that, he will likely begin his first full professional season in Charlotte of the American Hockey League.
“The summer will be really big for me to get stronger and work on my conditioning,” he said.