Where Do the Staal Brothers Rank Among Top Center Duos in the NHL?
Both have brought a Stanley Cup home to Thunder Bay, Ontario—Eric's came first in 2006 and Jordan answered in 2009.
Here's where Eric and Jordan rank among the league's top center men.
10. Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils
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The 2012 Stanley Cup runner-up New Jersey Devils were carried by two of the best centers in the league in Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac.
At 36, Elias impressed hockey fans in the regular season by posting 78 points; however, once the playoffs rolled around, Elias was nowhere to be seen. He played in all 24 games for the Devils and only managed to tally eight points and a minus-three rating.
Though he posted frustrating numbers in the playoffs, Elias would still finish his career as one of the best Devils of all time—holding eight franchise records including most career points (894).
Zajac, on the other hand, missed the majority of the 2011-12 regular season having only played in 15 games. He played in all of the playoff games, however, and added 14 points in the 24 games.
Honorable Mention: Adam Henrique
9. Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
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The 2011 Stanley Cup Champions were built on blue-collar play from every member of the team. Fortunately for Boston, the 2011 Bruins were stacked at the center position.
From Patrice Bergeron's excellence in leadership to impressive goal-scoring from budding star Tyler Seguin, the Bruins were able to mount an incredible seven-game upset of the powerful Vancouver Canucks in the Cup Finals.
With Seguin at just 20 years old and Bergeron still young at 26, Bruins fans can expect consistent offensive production from the two—hopefully enough for more playoff success to the booming Original Six fanbase.
Honorable Mention: David Krejci
8. Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
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The 2012 Los Angeles Kings produced one of the most incredible Stanley Cup runs to date—much of the offensive credit going to Slovenian center Anze Kopitar.
In the offseason, the Kings front office shopped their top prospect Brayden Schenn and power forward Wayne Simmonds for the Philadelphia Flyer Captain Mike Richards.
Adding Richards to a roster with Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty, the Kings were expected to be a solid offensive team. However, the Kings finished the regular season 29th in scoring and barely sneaked into the playoffs as an eighth seed.
From the moment the playoffs began, the Kings looked like an entirely new team.
Behind prolific goaltending in Conn Smyth winner Jonathan Quick, the Kings offense had little trouble winning games and finished the playoffs with an incredible 16-4 record.
Kopitar finished the playoffs with 20 points—five more than any other center throughout the league.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Carter
7. Pavel Datsyuk and Valteri Filppula, Detroit Red Wings
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Though the Wings disappointed in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the dazzling Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk posted another consistent offensive season.
Datsyuk is growing an impressive trophy case after adding three consecutive Frank J. Selke trophies as the league's top defensive forward.
While Datsyuk is perhaps the best two-way player in the game, Datsyuk is also purely magical come shootout time.
Along with Pavel, the Wings got impressive production from Valteri Filppula, as the Finnish forward posted 66 points to end the regular season.
After losing the team Captain Nick Lidstrom, Datsyuk heads the list of likely candidates to replace the great No. 5.
6. Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
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Down in the South Bay, the San Jose Sharks continued their Pacific Division dominance despite finishing their worst season since 2003.
Over the last eight years, the Sharks have averaged over 106 points per season proving their consistency behind Captain Joe Thornton.
Like Datsyuk and Filppula, both Thornton and Couture finished in the top 15 in points by a center in 2011-12.
While the Sharks continue their struggles in the playoffs, the future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton continues his unique control of the game season after season.
5. Jordan and Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Shortly after Jordan Staal got married this Saturday, he was informed that he was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Carolina Hurricanes, linking up with his older brother Eric Staal.
After he captained the Canes to the 2006 Stanley Cup, Eric Staal made four All-Star appearances.
However, since the historic Stanley Cup run, the Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once over six years.
Adding Jordan will be key, as it seems the 23-year-old is fresh off his coming out party. In the 2012 playoffs Jordan posted nine points in just six games. Adding Jordan beefs up the Canes forward core and should prove to be enough to get the Canes back in the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Skinner
4. Steven Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
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Both former first overall draft picks have proven to be one of the most lethal center combinations in the NHL.
Stamkos' ridiculous 60 goals at just 21 years old was nothing short of incredible this past season—earning him his second Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top scorer.
This past season was another downfall for club Captain Vincent Lecavalier, as he only played 64 games, however, the shortened season was still long enough to contribute 49 points.
Similarly, Lecavalier finished 2011 with 54 points in just 65 games.
Despite Lecavalier and Stamkos' offensive production, the Bolts had trouble finding a playoff spot in 2012.
3. Patty Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
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The Kane and Toews bromance has only been present for five seasons; however, that was more than enough time to carry a Stanley Cup offense in Chicago.
Former first-round draft picks Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews average 139 points a season for the Blackhawks—enough offense to earn a playoff spot in the last four seasons.
However, much of Kane's production previously came from the wing, but once again the Hawks front office flirted with change and moved the American to the center position—perhaps in an effort to create more room for snipers Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp (via CBS Sports).
2. Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
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While the majority of Canucks coverage goes to twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, one of the best emerging centers in Ryan Kesler goes largely unnoticed.
The Canucks first line of Sedin-Sedin-Burrows combined for 200 points this season en route to the President's Trophy as the league's best regular season team.
Despite the impressive regular season run in Vancouver, the Canucks fell to the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings in just five games—raising major concerns for the future of their starting goalie (via The Vancouver Sun).
1. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
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Even before trading the playoff successes of Jordan Staal, the best center-duo in the NHL was already in Pittsburgh.
Between superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, nearly every major NHL award has been won multiple times.
Both were first-round draft picks not too long ago, and since the Penguins have been an entirely new franchise. Crosby and Malkin hold a combined 18 NHL records and neither is over age 25.
If Sidney Crosby can keep away from concussions, the Penguins will have the two most dominant centers in the league for a long time.