He got married. He was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. He went on his honeymoon. He signed a 10-year contract extension worth $60 million.
The next logical step for Jordan Staal?
Buy a house in Raleigh, which is what he and his wife were in town to do on Friday.
“We were looking. There are some nice houses around here,” he said at an afternoon press conference. “We found a few, and we’re debating on them.”
President and General Manager Jim Rutherford was present to officially hand Staal his new red Canes sweater, though he had already donned the full gear earlier in the week for an on-ice session with Bauer.
“I think I look pretty good in red,” he said with a smile.
Now just over a month removed from an emotional day that saw him get wed and be traded within a few short hours of each other, Staal stepped back to recount the chain of events.
“It was a crazy day,” he said. “I think anyone could tell you that their wedding day could be crazy, but to put all that stuff in there, there were a lot of emotions in the room. Some ex-teammates now that were there, and with the family and everyone hearing it all at once, it was pretty surreal.
“But, I knew in the long-run I’d be very exited and very happy,” he said.
Excitement was the general theme of Staal’s first face-to-face meeting with the media since the trade – excitement about playing with his brother, excitement about his expanded offensive role and excitement about the Canes’ most recent signing in Alexander Semin.
“To play alongside [my] brother in the prime of our careers is very exciting,” he said. “To hopefully make an impact and really do something special is even more exciting.”
Whether Jordan will play alongside his elder brother is something the coaching staff will decide. Head coach Kirk Muller has said he’ll at least start with the brothers Staal on the same line, but Jordan isn’t overly concerned about potential combinations.
“I don’t really expect much with lines. Every season, lines change,” he said. “Guys move up and down. I’m sure there will be tweaking.”
First-line center or second-line center, Staal will see his offensive game fleshed out more than during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Even though he was often a third-line center in Pittsburgh behind two Hart Trophy-winning centers in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, he still scored 20 or more goals in four of his six NHL seasons. After putting up 49 points in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Staal breached the 50-point plateau last season with 25 goals and 25 assists.
Rutherford believes Staal has an upside yet. So does the 23-year-old forward himself.
“I’ve always been slotted in as the two-way forward, but I feel like I can work on my offensive game more,” he said.
In addition to sharing ice with his brother, Staal might also get the opportunity to play with Semin. It wouldn’t be far off-base to foresee a first line that includes Eric, Jordan and Semin at some point in training camp.
“I know Alexander can really do some damage and play some great hockey,” Staal said. “We (Jordan and Eric) talked yesterday, and we were both very excited about it.”
Staal said he plans on officially arriving in Raleigh in early September, in time to get settled before training camp begins.
Until then, the excitement builds.
“I’ve been looking for the opportunity to expand my role and be more of an elite player, and I know the opportunity is here,” Staal said. “There is pressure, but hopefully I can have a big year and big career here.”
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