A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What if the rumors are true?

By now, we've all heard the rumor that's been floating around for a few weeks.

Carolina wants to trade the rights to Jack Johnson (who was selected with the third overall pick in the 2005 entry draft) to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the second overall pick in this year's draft.

The St. Louis Blues have the first pick, and will be taking American defenseman Erik Johnson. Erik, like the unrelated Jack, came through the US Hockey Developmental program and is a massive, hulking defenseman.

This story has lots of twists and turns, so buckle up.

Jack Johnson (who the Canes selected in 2005) and Marc Staal (brother of Eric and Jordan) have the exact same birthdate. January 13, 1987.

Jack Johnson and Sidney Crosby are longtime friends. They used to play baseball against each other, and have been very close for several years. The Staal family was (according to rumor) a little upset with the Hurricanes for selecting Jack Johnson with the third pick in last year's draft instead of Marc Staal. It was known then that those Staal boys are really close and wanted to play together. Not quite like the Sedin twins, who come only as a package deal, but close. For the record, Marc was selected with the 12th overall selection and eventually made the Rangers big roster (but received no ice time). Meanwhile, Jack Johnson repeatedly snubbed the Canes, opting to stay in Ann Arbor even after the Wolverines were eliminated from Frozen Four contention. Additionally, he has already said that he will remain in Michigan for at least one more year.

Enter Jordan Staal. Although just 17 years old, at 6'4"/215 lbs, he's bigger than Eric (6'3"/200).

The Pittsburgh Penguins have the second overall pick in this year's draft, and they like Jack Johnson. They need a huge defenseman in the system, and the Canes seem to be interested in letting him go. The Penguins will get what they want, in a defenseman more for the future than the present. Sidney Crosby will get what he wants in his longtime friend. The Penguins have a unique (and obvious) thing to offer the Canes. A Staal.

Jordan is a very good player who might need a year or less in the AHL before joining the big club. If he were to be a part of the Canes organization, Eric would most certainly expedite the kid's acclimation to the NHL game, and would help him in ways that only a brother can. The Staals would be ecstatic. Canes fans would be tickled. NHL historians would love it.

Is it going to happen? We'll find out soon enough. This is what Jim Rutherford has to say:
"Any time you have a chance to move up and draft a player like Jordan Staal you have to look into it, but honestly there isn't anything serious at this point," the GM of the Stanley Cup champions, Jim Rutherford, said Friday.

.... which sounds a lot like "We are in serious talks, and are willing to sweeten the pot by returning Marc Recchi to the Pens while paying half his salary."

So anyway. All of that probably makes no sense.

Sometime around 11:00 am, we'll know if there's any deal in the works involving Johnson and Staal.

Forgive my meandering post. It's late.

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