RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes know they have a leadership void with the departure/sabbatical of 2018-19 captain Justin Williams and the trade that sent alternate captain Justin Faulk to St. Louis earlier this week.
The logical choice to replace Williams became the choice Sunday, with Jordan Staal — an alternate last season and co-captain in 2017-18 — getting the “C” ahead of the Hurricanes’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals. Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Martinook were named the two alternate captains.
Staal, about to start his eighth season in Carolina. became the longest-tenured Hurricanes player after the Faulk trade. He won a championship with the Penguins in 2009 and is one of three players — along with Teuvo Teravainen and recently acquired Joel Edmundson — to have their names etched on the Stanley Cup.
Staal had 11 goals and 17 assists in 50 games last season and had 10 points in 15 playoff games in helping Carolina reach the Eastern Conference Final. He was traded to the Hurricanes in June 2012 — on his wedding day — from Pittsburgh in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a first-round pick. Staal, 31, is in the seventh season of a 10-year, $60 million contract extension he signed after being acquired from Pittsburgh.
His brother Eric, who was drafted by Carolina, wore the “C” from January 2010 until he was traded to the Rangers at the 2016 trade deadline.
Slavin, a 2012 fourth-round pick of the Hurricanes, has emerged as one of the NHL’s best defensemen, earning Norris and Lady Byng trophy votes in each of the last three years. He played in all 82 games in each of the last three seasons and had arguably his best season in 2018-19 with eight goals and 23 assists. He was second on the team in playoff scoring with 11 points, all assists, in 15 games. Slavin, 25, is in the second year of a seven-year, $37.1 million contract.
Martinook was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes prior to last season and immediately became an integral part of the Hurricanes’ reformed locker room under first-year coach Rod Brind’Amour, who himself captained Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006. A 2012 second-round pick of the Coyotes, Martinook, 27, set a career-high in goals last season with 15 and matched his best career point total with 25 despite playing with a lower-body injury at the end of the season and playoffs. He signed a two-year, $ 4 million contract extension during last season.