The Carolina Hurricanessigned captain Jordan Staal to a four-year contract worth $11.6 million, the team announced Sunday. The forward's new deal includes a no-movement clause for three seasons and a no-trade clause for the final season in 2026-27.
Staal, 34, was set to become an unrestricted free agent Saturday.
"It's where I wanted to be," Staal said on a Zoom call Sunday. "I feel like we've got some unfinished business. ... Everything about it is what I've wanted to finish off my career with."
Getting Staal locked in gives Carolina some security with its center depth moving forward. Staal has been a top-tier defensive pivot throughout his career who can slot in throughout the Hurricanes' lineup in almost any role.
"Jordan embodies what it means be a Hurricane," general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. "His leadership has been an integral part of our success, and the impact he has made on our organization cannot be overstated. We could not be more excited to sign him for four more years."
Still, this is a significant investment by Carolina in a mid-30s player with lower-end offensive contributions. Staal had 17 goals and 34 points in 81 games last season on a team that often struggled offensively.
Staal has been Carolina's captain since 2019 and is an important veteran presence to have around the team's up-and-comers, including center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The Hurricanes have other unrestricted free agent forwards in the mix as well -- including veteran Paul Stastny -- but Staal's history with the organization and impact to date made this transaction the most obvious to get done first.
While Staal was a key component in a stellar regular season for Carolina, the franchise will also gladly take the salary-cap relief that comes with the end of the aging forward's megadeal. Last season was the final leg of Staal's 10-year contract with the Hurricanes that carried an average annual value of $6 million.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Staal is an imposing presence in front of the net and garnered major minutes as the Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He finished the New Jersey series with two goals.
Staal and the Hurricanes stumbled in the Eastern Conference finals, however, as he opposed two brothers on the Florida Panthers' side: defenseman Marc Staal and forward Eric Staal. Carolina, which had the second-best regular-season record behind only the Boston Bruins, was swept out of the postseason courtesy of four one-goal losses.
A veteran of 1,173 regular-season games, Staal, who began his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, has 275 goals and 645 points while averaging 18:22 on the ice per game.
Reuters contributed to this report.