Getty ImagesCarolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has said that the acquisition of Jordan Staal, 23, from the Pittsburgh Penguins wasn't simply a way to unite him with brother Eric Staal, the Canes' captain. It was because he views the young center as a singular talent in the NHL.
"Over maybe a 30 year period, it's hard to find a Jordan Staal, when you look at a 6-foot-4, 220-pound center that can skate and understands the game at both ends of the rink, " said Rutherford on Friday's Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast.
On Sunday, Rutherford secured those talents for the next 11 years: Signing Staal to a 10-year, $60 million contract extension that will kick at the start of the 2013-14 season. He has one year left at $4 million under his current deal.
His $6 million annual cap is in the range of players like Jonathan Toews ($6.3 million) and Mike Richards ($5.75 million).
Staal was traded to the Hurricanes at the NHL Draft — finding out about the deal during his wedding reception, no less — in exchange for the No. 8 overall pick (Derrick Pouliot), center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
At the time, there were no guarantees to Rutherford that Staal would ink a long-term deal; but he made the safe assumption that bringing Jordan Staal in to play with his brother was assurance enough.
If the 10-year, $60 million deal sounds familiar, that's because Staal rejected a similar offer from the Penguins this summer, which set the wheels in motion for GM Ray Shero to eventually trade him. It was that offer that made Staal debate his hockey future, both in eventually playing with his brothers and playing third fiddle in Pittsburgh behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
He decided to play with Eric and get his shot as a No. 1 center. Rutherford clearly feels he'll flourish there.