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Eric Staal    

NHL Player, Captain of the Carolina Hurricanes

Eric Craig Staal is a Canadian ice hockey player and the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He is a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006, and both the 2007 World Championships and the 2010 Winter Olympics with Team Canada.

Staal grew up playing minor hockey in Thunder Bay, and played AAA for the Thunder Bay Kings organization and led his Bantam team to an All-Ontario Championship in the 1999–2000 season. After that season, Staal was selected in the first round, 13th overall, in the 2000 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection by the Peterborough Petes. Staal was selected second overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, behind number one pick Marc-André Fleury. He played his first season in the NHL right after being drafted. In 2004, Staal played in the YoungStars game as part of the 2004 NHL All-Star festivities.

Staal made his first All-Star game appearance in 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas, where he scored the Eastern Conference's third goal. On January 27, 2008, at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, Staal recorded two goals and an assist. He was also awarded the MVP award for the event. On September 11, 2008, Staal signed a seven-year, $57.75 million deal with the Hurricanes beginning in the 2009–10 season. Staal was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2009, but signed despite having one year at $5 million remaining on his former contract.

On May 8, 2009, Staal scored twice to earn 40 career postseason points and eclipse Ron Francis' franchise mark of 39. On January 20, 2010, Staal was named team captain, replacing Rod Brind'Amour, who was named an alternate captain. Staal became the fifth captain since the team relocated to the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. On January 18, 2011, Staal was named the captain of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh.

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