Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal (12) congratulates goalie Cam Ward (30) following the Hurricanes' 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Raleigh

Staal, Ward keeping focus entering final year of contracts

Eric Staal and Cam Ward aren’t worrying now about their uncertain futures with the Carolina Hurricanes. The only remaining players from the club’s lone Stanley Cup championship team a decade ago are entering the final season of their lengthy contracts.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Eric Staal and Cam Ward aren’t worrying now about their uncertain futures with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The only remaining players from the club’s lone Stanley Cup championship team a decade ago are entering the final season of their lengthy contracts.

Both players said Tuesday that they’re keeping their focus on the things they can control on the ice.

Staal says that if there’s no resolution before the season, he’s “sure I’ll get those questions” throughout the year and added, “how many different answers can you give?”

Coach Bill Peters called his veterans’ contract uncertainty a “nonissue.”

“They give people something to talk about,” Peters said,

“but I think everybody’s pretty comfortable going into the year the way they are.”

Staal will make $9.5 million in the last year of a seven-year deal he signed in September 2008.

The Hurricanes will pay Ward $6.8 million in 2015-16 in the final year of the six-year contract he signed a year later.

“I’m just going to try to take care of what I can control, and that’s just preparing the best that I can to be great this year, and I feel when the time is right that will all take care of itself,” Ward said.

“My focus is on the team and trying to get off to a good start, and I’ll keep it that way.”

There’s no question that Staal and Ward have been two of the franchise’s most visible faces during the past decade.

Staal, 30, took over as team captain in 2010, has led the team in scoring in seven of his 10 seasons and is the only player in club history with four straight All-Star game appearances. Ward, 31, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs as a rookie in 2006.

“For me to have been a part of this organization for as long as I have, and played with one team, that doesn’t happen a ton in the game anymore,” Staal said. “So for sure, I’m grateful as far as that goes.

“You have one career, you have one chance at being an NHL hockey player and for me, I want to continue to get better, and I feel like I have a lot of great hockey left,” he continued. “And I want to help this team get back to the playoffs and have another chance at a Stanley Cup.”

The Hurricanes sure hoped playoff appearances would become the norm several years ago when they invested a total of roughly $94 million in their then-young stars.

They gave Staal his $57 million contract a month before the start of a season that ended with a run to the Eastern Conference final and included two Game 7 wins in 2009.

Ward’s $37 million deal came that September, and at the time he said the pressure was on him to play like an elite goalie “now that I’m being paid like one.”

They haven’t been back to the playoffs since, missing six straight postseasons — the longest active streak among Eastern Conference teams.

Carolina will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Cup victory this season and Ward says his main goal is helping the Hurricanes reach that level again.

“It definitely has been a long road — it seesm like so long ago that that took place, but it definitely brings you back to those great memories that you had,” Ward said. “I would love nothing more than to get back and do that all over again, and not only do it again, do it here. I’d love to see us get off to a good start and push to make the playoffs and see the city rally the way they did 10 years ago.

“I don’t know if there was any better place to play hockey” than Raleigh in 2006, he added, “and that’s what we’re trying to strive for.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Government announces 79 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 2 in Red Deer

There are 79 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, bringing the provincial… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital bracing for COVID-19 impact

“We’re all worried about what’s coming, but I think we feel confident”

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

I am still facing that existential angst

Stir crazy. I looked the phrase up, just for fun. “Restless or… Continue reading

Red Deer College adapting and adjusting to COVID-19

I have worked in post-secondary education for more than 30 years, and… Continue reading

Families urge action to get Canadians home from cruise ship stuck off Panama

1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board and more tests are being done every day

Saskatchewan cabinet Minister deletes ‘pray and repent’ tweet over COVID-19

REGINA — A Saskatchewan cabinet minister who tweeted an Old Testament passage… Continue reading

Ontario allows youth to remain in care after passing cut-off age during pandemic

TORONTO — Youth in Ontario’s child welfare system who pass the cut-off… Continue reading

Canada could face legal trouble over refugee deportations: advocates

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland holding ‘urgent’ discussions with U.S. officials

Most Read