The Carolina Hurricanes are going back to the future with a former captain returning to assume the captaincy.
No, not that one.
At the Caniac Carnival on Sunday, coach Rod Brind’Amour called it an “obvious choice” to name Jordan Staal as the ninth captain in Hurricanes history. Staal, who served as a co-captain in Bill Peters’ ill-conceived system two years ago, is the longest-serving Hurricane, beginning his eighth season in the organization following his trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins - on his wedding day - in 2012.
Staal takes over for Justin Williams, who is taking a break from hockey to begin the season and is not guaranteed to return. Having seen the team’s flailing firsthand following the trade of Jordan’s brother Eric to the New York Rangers in 2016 and subsequent two seasons without a captain, Brind’Amour was clear throughout the postseason that the team was going to name a captain - not multiple captains, but a single player. Having worn a letter of some sort in every season since his trade to Carolina, Staal will move his locker to the center of the room prior to Thursday’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.
Brind’Amour also announced that Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Martinook will serve as alternate captains, the first permanent appointment for either player in his career. Slavin has filled in as an alternate captain at times over the past three seasons, but never for more than a few games at a time. Martinook, who the coach called “our leader in the locker room,” is beginning his second season with the Hurricanes and quickly endeared himself to the locals with his heart-on-sleeve style of play, his accessibility to the fans, and even his first NHL hat trick last season against Florida.
Below are quotes from Jordan Staal’s media availability during the first intermission of Sunday’s game between the Hurricanes and Capitals:
I knew, if we picked a C, I’d be in the running. Obviously, I’ve been around for a while and I’ve worn the A for a few years and learned a lot from our leaders throughout the years. I’m excited about the new challenge and to play alongside this talented young group and lead the way the best I can.
Roddy, more or less, said “do you want to be captain?” He usually keeps it pretty simple. I was excited, I’m honored. Those are the two words that came out of my mouth. I’m just excited about the opportunity and, obviously, I love the group we have in there. An easy group to keep in line, and such. It’s a group that works hard, so it should be a piece of cake.
(I talked to Eric Staal) a little bit. He’s excited, as well. He’s obviously super excited for me. He was fortunate enough to wear it for a long time here. It’s kind of neat that I get to wear it, too.
I can’t say enough about those two guys (Slavin and Martinook, who were named alternate captains). Slavo’s been here for a while now, but just his day-to-day is so consistent and his play is what you want to see on the back-end. He brings it every game. Marty is absolutely no different. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he shows up to work. Those are the guys you want to follow and be around. They have fun with it, too. Obviously, Marty’s a guy who just enjoys being around the guys and being in the room and Slavo’s no different.
I think a captain is always nice to have. I think it kinda just helps with the whole situation and the trickle-down effect from the coaching and who to talk to. It just works well that way. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work any other way. From personal experience, it’s nice to have that one guy that you can go to for those things. And, obviously, you have those other guys in the room who fill other roles. In general, I think it’s good to have a captain and I’m excited it’s me, but it could’ve been a lot of other guys in that room also, so I’m excited that we have a bunch of guys who can step in that way.
The release from the team is below.
CANES NAME JORDAN STAAL AS TEAM CAPTAIN
Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin will serve as alternate captains
Rod Brind’Amour, Head Coach of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Jordan Staal will serve as the team’s captain for the 2019-20 season. Jordan Martinook and Jaccob Slavin will serve as alternate captains.
Staal, 31, previously served as co-captain during the 2017-18 season and served as an alternate captain during each of his other six seasons with Carolina (2012-17, 2018-19). Prior to joining the Hurricanes, he also served as an alternate captain during his last four seasons in Pittsburgh (2008-12). The 6’4”, 220-pound forward has registered 510 points (217g, 293a) in 893 career NHL games, including 262 points (97g, 165a) in 462 career games with the Hurricanes. The Thunder Bay, Ont., native posted 28 points (11g, 17a) in 50 regular season games in 2018-19 and added 10 points (4g, 6a) in 15 playoff games as Carolina advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. Staal was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Penguins in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (Derrick Pouliot) on June 22, 2012.
Martinook, 27, scored a career-high 15 goals and added 10 assists last season while skating in all 82 games for the first time in his NHL career. The Brandon, Man., native led the Hurricanes with 199 hits in 2018-19 and recorded a career-high 53 takeaways. Martinook has posted 90 points (41g, 49a) in 329 career NHL games with Arizona and Carolina. The 6’1”, 204-pound forward was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Coyotes along with a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (Luke Henman) in exchange for Marcus Kruger and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (Ty Emberson) on May 3, 2018.
Slavin, 25, recorded 31 points (8g, 23a) in 82 NHL games with Carolina last season. He posted a team-high 11 assists during the Hurricanes’ run to the Eastern Conference Final and set a franchise single-series playoff record with nine assists during the Eastern Conference First Round vs. Washington. The 6’3”, 213-pound defenseman has appeared in 303 consecutive regular season games entering the 2019-20 season, marking the third-longest ironman streak in franchise history. Slavin has registered 115 points (23g, 92a) in 309 career NHL games with Carolina, and his 300 career takeaways are the third-most by any NHL player since he entered the league in 2015-16. The Erie, Colo., native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round, 120th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.