Eric Staal (born October 29, 1984, in Thunder Bay, Ontario) is a Canadian ice hockey player and the team captain for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He is the older brother of Jordan Staal, who is playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc Staal, who is playing for the New York Rangers, and Jared Staal, who was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft but is currently playing for the Ontario Hockey League‘s Sudbury Wolves.
Staal was selected second overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, behind number 1 pick Marc-André Fleury. He had played for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL the year before, scoring 98 points in 66 games.
He played his first season in the National Hockey League right after being drafted. In 2004, Staal played in the YoungStars game as part of the 2004 NHL All-Star festivities.
He was named NHL Offensive Player of the Week (October 23–30, 2005). On October 28, 2005, Staal had his first career hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers. He led the Hurricanes in points during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 28 points. Staal was fourth in voting for the Hart Trophy, which is the award for the NHL’s most valuable player.
On July 1, 2006, Staal signed a three year, $13.5 million contract with the Hurricanes.
Staal made his first All-Star game appearance in 2007 NHL All-Star game in Dallas, where he scored the Eastern Conference’s third goal.
On January 27, 2008, at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, Staal recorded 2 goals and an assist. He was also awarded the MVP award for the event.
On September 11, 2008, Staal signed a seven year, $57.75 million deal with the Hurricanes beginning in the 2009/2010 NHL season. Staal was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2009 but signed despite having 1 year at $5 million remaining on his former contract.
On April 28, 2009, Staal capped an improbable comeback by scoring the series winning goal with 31.7 seconds remaining in the seventh game of Carolina’s first round series with the New Jersey Devils.
On May 8, 2009, Staal scored twice to earn 40 career postseason points and eclipse Ron Francis‘ franchise mark of 39.
On January 20, 2010, Staal was named team captain, replacing Rod Brind’Amour who was named an alternate captain. Staal became the fifth captain since the team relocated to Raleigh.