PITTSBURGH — Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford reunited brothers Jordan Staal and Eric Staal with an NHL Draft day trade on Friday night, but claims that the Hurricanes captain wasn't actively campaigning for it.
"I told Eric at the end of the season that we were going to try to improve our team. We were going to look at some of the players around the League. And I think he understood what I was saying," said Rutherford.
"He never said anything about bringing his brother here. Not directly."
Carolina acquired Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and its first-round pick (8th overall), used on defenseman Derrick Pouliot.
Rutherford said the deal came around at about 6:45 p.m. on Friday, having previously had a conversation with GM Ray Shero earlier in the day. It was made without any guarantees that Jordan Staal, an unrestricted free agent next summer, would sign with the Hurricanes long-term.
But perhaps the family bond is all the guarantee he needed.
"I hope so. For many years, the family said the brothers wanted to play together," said Rutherford.
Although he didn't like parting with Sutter, a strong young center, he said Jordan Staal is a special talent. "There are maybe two or three other center iceman that are like Jordan Staal. You just can't find them."
Now the real question: Will we see a Staal Line next season in Carolina? It's up to Coach Kirk Muller, said Rutherford.
"Eric could move to the wing and play with Jordan. But by moving Brandon, that makes it harder to do. We'll still see if we can improve our team."