Carolina Hurricanes’ captain Eric Staal will return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Vancouver Cancuks.
Staal has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury that he suffered on October 11th against the Islanders. Without Staal the Hurricanes went 0-3-2 (0-5-2 on the season) while being outscored 18-8. They remain the only team in the league without a win, but getting their captain and best player back in the lineup will certainly help.
Staal had one goal and one assist in his first two games before getting hurt, but is coming off of the worst season of his career, so a bounce-back season will be crucial in determining whether or not Connor McDavid will be a Hurricane next season.
Expect Staal to start on the Hurricanes’ first line with Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin on his wings. Staal will also centre the top power-play—he has averaged 3:50 per game on the power-play over the last five years, but has seen his powerplay goals decrease every year since 2008-09. He had just one PPG last year, but already has one this year and should get back to double digit PPG’s for the first time since 2010-11 (12 PPG).
Fantasy Analysis: I still like his chances of getting back to 70 points for the eighth time in his career, as long as he can stay healthy. Remember he has only missed 17 games in his 10-year career, so I would not be overly concerned about this early season injury.