Hurricanes captain Staal cites ‘unfinished business’ after signing 4-year extension

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal signed a four-year contract extension with Carolina that will pay him an average of $2.9 million annually. (Mark Humphrey / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — Jordan Staal has played 11 seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes, so what’s four more?

The Hurricanes and Staal agreed to a four-year contract extension on Sunday worth $11.6 million, ensuring the Carolina captain will remain in Raleigh.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Staal said during a Zoom call Sunday afternoon. “I feel like we’ve got some unfinished business, and I’m just super excited to be part of this organization.

“This group of guys and just everything about it just fit exactly what I wanted to finish off my career with. So I’m excited about it. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and a lot of good future memories.”

Staal had 17 goals and 17 assists in 2023-23, the final year of a 10-year, $60 million contract he signed after being traded from Pittsburgh to Carolina before the 2012-13 season. His new contract will have less than half of that cap hit — $2.9 million annually compared to $6 million.

“Jordan embodies what it means to be a Hurricane,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said in a press release. “His leadership has been an integral part of our success, and the impact he has made on our organization cannot be overstated. We could not be more excited to sign him for four more years.”

The veteran of more than 1,300 regular season and playoff games wouldn’t guarantee this would be the final contract of his career, but at nearly 35 years old he conceded not many are still playing as they approach 40.

“There’s not a whole lot of guys that keep playing after this contract,” he said, “but we’ll see when it gets to the end of it.”

Staal returns to a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. The Hurricanes have made the playoffs in all five of Rod Brind’Amour’s seasons as head coach and twice made the Eastern Conference finals, including this past season.

“I’m ready to grind,” Staal said. “I’m ready to play and feel really good about my game. And I feel like I can help the team for the rest of this contract, and I’m going to do my best to my abilities. … I’m excited about the deal and where this team’s headed in, the direction, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

With Staal re-signed, the Hurricanes can turn their focus to other players. Jesper Fast, Staal’s frequent linemate, is an unrestricted free agent, as are goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. Core players Sebastian Aho, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei could all be unrestricted free agents next summer, and younger standouts players Seth Jarvis and Martin Necas will also be due new contracts then.

“The core group of that room understands that we haven’t quite finished the job that we set out to do as a core,” Staal said. “I feel like there’s some ability to keep everyone and really get the job done and kind of push over the hump here. So I’m definitely hoping we can keep everyone, and we’re going to try to do that.”