The Hurricanes are making quick work of their restricted free agent pool.
Continuing a fast pace that has already seen Greg Nemisz and Zach Boychuk sign new contracts in the last two days, Michal Jordan and Jared Staal each agreed to terms on one-year, two-way deals with Carolina on Thursday.
The Hurricanes’ fourth-round draft choice in 2008, Jordan posted career highs in assists (21) and points (25) last season. A top-pairing defenseman for much of his time in Charlotte, including his All-Star campaign in 2012-13, he is the team’s all-time leader in games played by a defenseman (267), second only to forward Chris Terry’s 294. A longtime member of the Czech Republic’s international teams at the youth and junior levels, the 23-year-old set to enter his fifth pro season made the breakthrough with the senior team at the IIHF World Championship in May.
Should Jordan begin the season with the Checkers, where he spent the entirety of last season after making his NHL debut with Carolina in 2012-13, he would instantly reclaim his extensive, all-situations role while potentially filling a leadership void left by the likes of Brett Sutter, who has signed with the Minnesota Wild organization, by Terry, who is a candidate to see extensive NHL time in Carolina, and by Nicolas Blanchard, who remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent.
After having to work his way into the lineup for much of his first three seasons as a professinal, Staal, another 23-year-old who began his pro career the same time as Jordan, earned regular playing time as a fourth-line grinder and penalty killer last season, tying his career high with seven points (2g, 5a). The younger brother of Hurricanes forwards Eric and Jordan Staal and New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was a second-round draft pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008.
The Hurricanes' RFA list is now down to just two players: forward Justin Shugg and defenseman Rasmus Rissanen. A handful of others from last year's team, including Aaron Palushaj, Matt Corrente and John Muse, are on the open market as unrestricted.
- Written by Paul Branecky