The name of Eric Staal has been floated in trade rumors for months, and the Carolina Hurricanes' captain didn’t enhance his value by tallying just 61 points in 79 games, his lowest in a full season since his rookie season of 2003-2004.
The Hurricanes have not been to the postseason since 2009 and have turned the page with the hiring of Bill Peters, who takes over as coach for dismissed Kirk Muller. Peters will not be treating Staal with kid gloves, only adding to speculation that the 29-year-old center is no longer a franchise cornerstone. Speaking to an estimated 3,500 fans who turned out for a team event on Saturday, Peters was blunt in his assessment of some Canes players. Peters noted Staal scored one power-play goal last season and called it "unacceptable," wrote Chip Alexander of the News Observer.
If the Hurricanes start slowly, expect the heat to build on Staal, who is on the hook for $9.25 million this year and $9.5 million in 2015-16.