Staal netted the game winner in overtime Saturday to lift the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Senators. He also had an assist. It's Staal's third straight game with a goal after going 11 to start the season without. He's a diligent, but unspectacular pivot on a bad team. And while his shooting percentage is substantially lower than his career average, Staal isn't about to become an offensive stud any time soon.
Staal recorded his first goal of the season during Sunday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Make no mistake - Staal has not looked good so far this year. Prior to Sunday's goal, he had just two assists in 11 games and was held off the scoresheet for nine straight games to start the season. In fairness, Staal is not seeing the same amount of ice time per game compared to last season (16:35 vs. 18:33), however he's still centering the team's second line. With three points in his last three games, hopefully this is a sign he has turned the corner.
Staal scored his first two points of the season Thursday, a pair of assists in a 3-2 overtime win against the Islanders. It was Staal's best outing of the season, as he set up Ron Hainsey's game-winning goal in overtime with some nice sauce. Staal finished plus-2 with five shots in 18:29 of ice time. The Hurricanes don't have much talent to surround Staal and brother Eric with, so chances are these games will come few and far between.
Staal is now pointless through eight consecutive games to start the season, after being held off the scoresheet during Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Sharks. It's been a terrible start for the younger Staal who, apart from looking for his first point of the season, is averaging just one shot on goal per game. Part of the problem is, although he is still centering the team's second line, he's averaging over two fewer minutes of ice time compared to last season (16:14 vs. 18:33), and his power play time has dropped to under a minute per game (0:45), mostly due to the arrival of Kris Versteeg. Staal makes for a difficult fantasy roll right now; owners would be wise to look for alternatives until he can find a way to right the ship.
Staal saw just 14:22 worth of ice time in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Predators. Considering Staal has never averaged less than 18:33 over the last six seasons, a four-minute drop is pretty meaningful, especially if it becomes a trend. Technically speaking, that qualifies as bottom-six minutes, which is surely not what fantasy owners want to hear. Keep an eye on the situation and don't be afraid to bench Staal if he doesn't start playing a more prominent role in the Hurricanes' lineup.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||59||10||21||32||-6||1||0||1||587||505||74.7|