2.12.2007

Staal's are key

When you talk about a car, you need the key's and you hate when it stalls. When you talk hockey, the Staal's are keys. I've done some watching on the 2 Staal brothers that are in the NHL right now, and here is a basic run-down of their skills.
Eric Staal- Eric Staal is the future of the Hurricanes. Last year he was one of the best adjusted players in the new NHL, as he went from 11 goals and 31 points in 03-04, to 45 goals and 100 points in just his second year. He was key for Carolina on the power-play with 19 tallies, and also had 4 short-handed goals. 4 of his 45 were game-winners, and that's just the regular season. In the playoffs, he had 9 goals and 28 points. 7 of his 9 goals were on the power-play, and 1 of those was a game winner. He also helped Carolina by only taking 8 minutes is penalties, and no fights. If it weren't for the fact that Cam Ward was a rookie, Staal would have been MVP of the playoffs.
This year, he hasn't been the Canes most publicized player. Rod Brind'Amour has been getting more coverage, and, truth be told, Brind'Amour is currently better. However, Staal has kept up his consistent strong play. He won't score 100 points, but he will end up in the 70-80 point range unless he gets injured. With 24 goals and 53 points, Staal is in 4th on the Canes in scoring. He has 10 power-play goals, proving that the foward-on-the-point system is continuously successful. 1 shorthanded goal as well, and 1 game winner gives Eric an A overall.
Jordan Staal- If you're a member of the 'team of the future', as I think of the Penguins, then it might be hard to get noticed, with all the Crosby's, Malkin's, Fluery's, and Whitney's, but Staal has made a name for himself. When the original announcement was made that Staal would be up on the team, there were some small questions. Would he live up to the hype that Crosby and Malkin were given? After all, he only averaged a point-per-game with the Peterborough Petes. That was good, but with Crosby at 168 points in 66 games, and Malkin scoring 47 points in 46 games with Magnitogorsk Russia, the pressure was on Staal to bring it. No matter, he simply scored the first 3 goals of his career short-handed. Staal now has 23 goals and 29 points. He is a highly skilled player who could be a defensive version of Rick Nash. While his play making skills could be questioned because of his small assist totals, nobody doubts that young Jordan, who leads the NHL in shots percentage with 28.3%, will be one of the Penguins bright spots for a time to come.
Notes....
- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Marc-Andre Fluery have been identified as the future of the NHL. However, if we limit it down to the Penguins, they still have more. Ryan Whitney has defeated any rumors of the sophomore slump, already bettering last seasons points and goals mark, and equaling his assist totals. Maxime Talbot is another Penguin who excels short-handed, and Rob Scuderi is a good defensive defenseman. Lost in all the hype has been Kris Letang, who played 7 games in the NHL this year and scored 2 goals, with nearly 2 points-per-game with 42 points in 27 games with the Val d'Or Foruers.
- Kristian Huselius and his criticized stick have quietly placed 3rd in shooting percentage, with 25 goals on 109 shots for 22.9%. If you trim it down to players who have taken 100 shots or more, Huselius leads the league. How's that for a guy who didn't look so hot with his precisely cared for stick in the All-Access Pass from The Hockey News? Huselius has also averaged 20 goals a year over 5 years, with just one year of not scoring 20, the year before the lockout. He averages 43 points a year, and 73 games. And approximately 45% of his points have been goals. Pampered stick or not, the Flames made a good deal to acquire this guy.

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