Eric Staal expects myriad emotions in Carolina return
Rangers forward among NHLers to have success with new team
Eric Staal has made the mundane commute hundreds of times over the years from his home in Raleigh to the Carolina Hurricanes' rink.
But it will be different Thursday night. When he walks into the arena, he'll make a left into the visitors' dressing room.
The former Hurricanes captain and face of the franchise will play his first game as a visitor at PNC Arena with his new teammates, the New York Rangers.
"You don't really know how you're going to feel … until you really experience it," Staal said. "I think it's going to be a lot of unique, different emotions just in general because of being there and being there so long. … It's going to be a lot different."
Carolina's second overall pick in 2003 remains its career leader in nearly every statistical category, including 909 games played, 332 goals and 775 points.
But with Staal's seven-year, $55.75-million US contract expiring this summer, the 31-year-old was dealt to the Rangers for second-round draft picks in 2016 and 2017, along with Finnish forward prospect Aleksi Saarela.
Staal has three goals and seven assists in 14 games with his new team while averaging 16 minutes 22 seconds of ice time after never averaging less than 18:45 in any season with Carolina since he was a rookie.
Barring a total collapse, he'll skate in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 as the Rangers have 95 points, second-most in the Eastern Conference.
How are other players moved ahead of the deadline performing with their team? We highlight some below.
Mikkel Boedker, F, Avalanche
The trade: Colorado acquires Boedker from Arizona for Alex Tanguay, F Conner Bleackley and D Kyle Wood
- Before the trade: 13 goals, 39 points, minus-28 in 62 games
- Since the trade: 3 goals, 10 points, minus-1 in 13 games
Jiri Hudler, F, Panthers
The trade: Florida picks up Hudler from Calgary for 2016 2nd-round draft pick and 2018 4th-round draft pick
- Before the trade: 10 goals, 35 points, 16:39 of ice time in 53 games
- Since the trade: 5 goals, 7 points, 13:22 of ice time in 13 games
Andrew Ladd, F, Blackhawks
The trade: Chicago gets Ladd, F Matt Fraser and D Jay Harrison from Winnipeg for F Marko Dano, 2016 1st-round pick and 2018 conditional 3rd-round pick
- Before the trade: 17 goals, 34 points, 19:27 of ice time in 59 games
- Since the trade: 6 goals, 9 points, 16:50 of ice time in 14 games
Dion Phaneuf, D, Senators
The trade: Ottawa gets Phaneuf from Toronto in 9-player deal
- Before the trade: 3 goals, 24 points, 22:02 of ice time in 51 games
- Since the trade: 1 goal, 8 points, 23:10 of ice time in 20 games (shut down for season with hairline fracture in foot/torn rib cage muscle
Teddy Purcell, F, Panthers
The trade: Florida obtains Purcell from Edmonton for 2016 3rd-round pick
- Before the trade: 11 goals, 32 points, 17:27 of ice time in 61 games
- Since the trade: 2 goals, 6 points, 14:50 of ice time in 9 games
James Reimer, G, Sharks
The trade: Sharks acquire Reimer and F Jeremy Morin from Toronto for G Alex Stalock, F Ben Smith and 2018 conditional 4th-round pick
- Before the trade: 2.49 GAA, .918 save percentage, zero shutouts in 29 starts
- Since the trade: 1.85, .926 save percentage, 2 shutouts in 6 starts
Kris Russell, D, Stars
The trade: Dallas receives Russell from Calgary for D Jyrki Jokipakka, F Brett Pollock and a conditional 2016 2nd-round pick
- Before the trade: 4 goals, 15 points, 22:52 of ice time in 51 games
- Since the trade: 4 points, 24:32 of ice time in 9 games
Justin Schultz, D, Penguins
The trade: Pittsburgh acquires Schultz from Edmonton for 2016 3rd-round pick
- Before the trade: 3 goals, 10 points, minus-22, 20:08 of ice time in 45 games
- Since the trade: 1 goal, 3 points, plus-6, 14:27 of ice time in 12 games
With files from CBC Sports