After being traded February 28th to the New York Rangers, Eric Staal returns to the place he spent his entire 13 year career for the first time. Staal, coming off a 2 goal performance in the OT loss against Pittsburgh, was allowed to travel back on Monday to spend more time with his family instead of Wednesday with the team. Yesterday, he wrote a thank you letter to Carolina on The Players’ Tribune. I am sure there will be a very appreciative crowd, thanking him for the memories. Eric was Captain of the Hurricanes for 6 years, and is second to Ron Francis in goals, assists, points, and power play goals in franchise history, and leads in short-handed goals and hat-tricks. He has 3 goals and 2 assists so far in his tenure as a New York Ranger. While it will be a very emotional night, I am expecting a big game from him, and, honestly, I hope it is.
Also playing tonight will be Sergei Tolchinsky; it will be his first NHL game. Before Carolina signed him 3 years ago, he was a Rangers’ prospect, so it’d be fitting for him to have a big night as well. A lot of fans believe he’s a part of the future of the Carolina Hurricanes.