RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes have added another Staal to their mix.
The Canes on Thursday acquired right wing Jared Staal from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft. Staal, 19, is the brother of Canes captain Eric Staal and the youngest of the four Staal brothers.
"I'm excited. Obviously this is a good opportunity for me," Jared Staal said Thursday. "I know about the organization because of my brother, and I know they give young guys a chance to develop. It's the right fit for me."
Staal was taken by the Coyotes in the second round, 49th overall, in the 2008 draft. He had 12 goals and 37 assists this past season for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, then played five games for San Antonio of the American Hockey League.
"He's a big kid, with good hands and a good understanding of the game," Carolina assistant general manager Jason Karmanos said Thursday. "He was really young when he was drafted and doesn't turn 20 until August, so he has a longer development curve.
"He has the good bloodlines. Not to put too much pressure on him, but we feel in time he can be a good player for us."
Listed at 6 feet 3 and 198 pounds, Staal has played four seasons for Sudbury, with 54 goals and 99 assists in 249 games. He scored a goal in the 2008 Top Prospects Game and had a game-winning goal for Sudbury in the 2007 OHL conference finals.
"I've had some ups and downs, but I think I've developed a lot the last couple of years," Staal said. "I've had a chance to play some AHL games the last couple of years, and that was a real eye-opener as to what it takes to be a professional hockey player."
Not that he's lacking for good examples - or advice. Eric Staal has won a Stanley Cup with the Canes. Jordan Staal won a Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. And Marc Staal, the only defenseman among the four brothers, is a top blueliner for the New York Rangers.
"I'm pretty lucky to have three brothers in the National Hockey League," Jared Staal said. "They have given me a lot of advice and insights as to what it takes to get to the next level."
Being the youngest of the Staal brothers has meant dealing with steep hockey expectations, with a lot of eyes on him. Eric, Jordan and Marc all quickly made the leap to the NHL, but Jared hasn't had the same rapid progression.
"Some people think it's a bad thing, but I look at it as a positive," Jared said of the brotherly pressure to perform. "I'll never complain about having three brothers in the NHL."
Staal said he plans to attend the Canes' rookie camp in July. It's possible he could begin next season in Charlotte with the Hurricanes' new AHL affiliate.
"I just want to give myself the opportunity to play somewhere," Staal said. "If it's in the AHL, I'll go and work and play as hard as I can."
The pick the Canes traded for Staal originally belonged to the Nashville Predators. It was conditionally acquired by Carolina on June 19, 2008, along with Darcy Hordichuk, in exchange for Carolina's fifth-round pick in 2009.
The Hurricanes have until June 1 to sign Staal to an entry-level contract or he can re-enter the draft. Both sides expect a deal to be struck.
"We feel very good about our prospects of signing him," Karmanos said.
Especially with Staal's big brother on the Canes' side.
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