Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour announced Sunday that Jordan Staal would be the next captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, with defenseman Jaccob Slavin and forward Jordan Martinook serving as alternate captains.
During the State of the Canes address before the Carolina Hurricanes’ final preseason game against the Washington Capitals, play-by-play announcer John Forslund spoke with the Hurricanes’ new goaltender coach Jason Muzzatti, Brind’Amour and president and general manager Don Waddell. It was Brind’Amour who broke the news.
Brind’Amour said the choice was an obvious one and one he felt was needed. Heading into the preseason, Brind’Amour said he was confident in the leadership group already in the room, but after going through a few games and reading the room, he decided he needed someone to take charge.
“Roddy [Brind’Amour] more or less said ‘You want to be captain?’ and he usually keeps it pretty simple,” Staal said on Brind’Amour approaching him with the decision. “I was excited, I’m honored, and those were the two words that came out of my mouth.”
Staal had served once already as a captain, but in a more interesting way. In the 2017-2018 season, former head coach Bill Peters named both Jordan Staal and former defenseman Justin Faulk as co-captains, a very rare situation in the NHL. This has only happened two other times: in 1985-88 with the Bruins and in 2005-07 with the Sabres.
This pair only lasted for the single season, as the Hurricanes missed the playoffs for the ninth straight year, and Peters left for a head coaching job with the Calgary Flames. New head coach Brind’Amour then stripped the “C” from both and named Justin Williams captain.
With Williams stepping away from the game, Staal will have the opportunity to prove his value as a lone captain, a position his brother, Eric Staal, held for seven seasons from 2009-2016.
“I knew if we were going to pick a ‘C,’ I’d be in the running,” Staal said. “I’ve been around for a while, and I was fortunate enough to wear the ‘A’ for a few years, and I learned a lot from our leaders throughout the years. I’m excited by the new challenge and to play alongside this talented young group.”
Entering his eighth season with the Hurricanes, Staal has four years remaining, including the one coming up, on the 10-year contract he signed back in 2012. Staal is set to play with the Hurricanes for a long time. Serving a crucial role as the No. 2 centerman, Staal’s contributions both on and off the ice are vitally important to the team.
Alongside Staal, Slavin, who has been a calming presence as the No. 1 defenseman on the Hurricanes roster since making the jump to the NHL roster in 2015, and Martinook, who played his first year for Carolina last year, are two obvious choices to bolster the leadership in the room.
“Can’t say enough about those two guys,” Staal said about his two alternates. “I mean Slavo [Slavin], he’s been here for awhile now, but just his day-to-day is so consistent, and obviously his play is what you want to see on the back end, and he brings it every game. Marty [Martinook] is no different. He’s a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve and shows up to work. Those are the guys you want to follow and be around.”
While other teams, such as the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres, have named their 2015 NHL draft superstars as captains, the Hurricanes decided to go in a different direction.
Sebastian Aho, who the Canes drafted in the second round of the 2015 draft, will not be wearing a letter for Carolina, but it isn’t a slight to him or his abilities. The Hurricanes all-star will have more time to focus on his offensive ability and overall game, which the Canes will be relying on more.
“He earned it,” Aho said when asked about the captaincy. “He’s a great leader, and I’m so happy for him and to have him as my captain.”
There should be no worry among fans whether there will be any animosity in the locker room following the decision. Staal has worn the “C” before, is currently respected in the room and is already becoming one of the most respected captains in the Hurricanes history.