Q&A with 2006 prospect Jordan Staal

By Jason Ahrens

Jordan Staal is a highly regarded center with the Peterborough Petes. He’s an imposing physical specimen at 6’3 and 200 pounds with room to fill out. Staal was taken with the third overall pick by the Petes in the 2004 OHL draft after putting up 92 points in 49 games for the Thunder Bay Minor Midget AAA team. In his rookie season he tallied 28 points for a veteran-laden Petes team.

Jordan is the third of Staal brothers. Brother Eric was a Pete before becoming the third overall selection by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2003 NHL entry draft and Marc plays defense for the Sudbury Wolves and was just taken 12th overall by the New York Rangers at the 2005 NHL entry draft. He has a younger brother Jared who will be playing minor midget this season and may follow his older brothers into the OHL for the 2006-07 season.

Staal is well on his way to being a first round pick for the 2006 NHL entry draft and is a strong candidate to be a top 5 pick.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Staal shortly after he was named to Team Canada for the Under 18 tournament.

HF: So how does it feel to put on that Canadian jersey?

JS: It feels amazing, there are a lot of good players out here and it is quite an honor to be out here with this jersey on.

HF: Has the coach giving you any indication on what sort of role you are playing, what sort of leadership he is looking for from you, things like that?

JS: No, he hasn’t named anything like that, he just picked the team this morning so he has a few days to think about who he wants to be a leader out there and let’s just hope that we can all chip in and win the gold.

HF: It has been a big week for your family, your brother Marc went 12th overall to the New York Rangers, you made this team. How was it like growing up with all these hockey playing brothers, we all know about the Sutter brothers, but we might be soon hearing more and more about the Staal brothers.

JS: I don’t know, it was just like any other family, we just went out and played hockey and played our best and just took it day by day and things just kind of happened.

HF: Bob McKenzie of TSN was talking about the rink that your dad had built in your backyard, can you tell me a bit about that?

JS: Yeah it was a pretty big deal back in the day, me and Marc would play against Eric and Jared, we had a lot of fun out there and it really improved our game and it really took us to the next level.

HF: Last year there were two moments when scouts said that you really stood out, the Under 17 tournament and in the first round of the OHL playoffs when you were maybe the best player on the Petes, can you tell me a bit about those experiences?

JS: Things just kind of clicked for me, I just had a boost of confidence and my line mates were really good in both occasions and the puck just started going in for me.

HF: One of your line mates from the Petes, Logan Hunter was quoted saying that you remind him a lot of Rick Nash (CLB) at the same age. That is quite the compliment.

JS: Yeah it is for sure, his knowledge too, he is pretty good guy and he knows his stuff when he says something like that you take notice of it.

HF: What are some of the things you worked on most over the summer?

JS: I’m just working hard getting my leg strength up, working on my shot, and just getting mentally focused for the next year.

HF: What sort of role do you see yourself playing for the Petes this year?

JS: We have quite a few forwards coming back and I’m just hoping to get a little more ice time and maybe some special teams and just go from there.

HF: Playing on the big ice surface over in Europe (in the U18 tournament), how is that going to change your game?

JS: It is going to be tough that is for sure, you have to skate that much harder and the game is going to be that much faster. You know we all have to whip ourselves into shape over the next few days and just play our hardest.

HF: The red line pass will be eliminated this year in the OHL, but you guys aren’t used to it like your competition, how much of a factor is that?

JS: I’m sure we will be looking at the long pass once or twice, but we will not be looking at forever stretching the zone we have to help out our D and get open for them and not be just looking for that stretch pass. It is going to be different for sure, pretty much all through minor hockey we have been playing with the red line and it is going to be hard.

HF: Do you have any idea of who the main competition will be over there, I know you have some of the guys at the Under 17 tournament, but what sort of scouting report do you have?

JS: I haven’t really heard much, I’m sure we will get the scoop once we get there. We haven’t really heard which team is the dominant team over there and we are just looking forward to playing each game hard and come out on top.

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