Rangers acquire Staal from 'Canes

– Eric Staal gets to play with another brother, and the New York Rangers are loading up for the playoffs.

The Rangers acquired the Carolina Hurricanes' captain and face of the franchise on Sunday.

In exchange for Staal, the Rangers sent center Aleksi Saarela, who is playing in his native Finland, to Carolina along with New York's second-round selections in each of the next two drafts.

Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton said the Hurricanes retained a portion of Staal's $8.25 million cap hit, and have enough financial flexibility to add another "small-salary player if we wanted to."

The Rangers trail first-place Washington by 16 points in the Metropolitan Division standings.

"We felt like he was one of the best, if not the best, player available on the market to give us what we're looking for in our top nine," Gorton said. "And that's why we made the move."

Staal, 31, had spent his entire 12-year career with the Hurricanes, who drafted him with the second overall pick in 2003. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, once the final year of his seven-year, $55.75 million contract expires.

Staal leaves one younger brother, Jordan Staal, and will be united with another brother, Marc, who plays defense for the Rangers.

HIGHLIGHTS

•BLACKHAWKS EDGE CAPITALS: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dennis Rasmussen scored as the Blackhawks beat the NHL-leading Capitals 3-2 in Chicago. Corey Crawford made 28 saves for the Blackhawks.

•HAT TRICK AND MORE: Corey Perry got his ninth career hat trick and added an assist as the Ducks beat the visiting Kings for their eighth consecutive victory.

•SIZZLING LIGHTNING: Ryan Callahan scored twice and Steven Stamkos converted a penalty shot to help the Lightning beat the Bruins 4-1 in Boston for its sixth consecutive victory.

•BLUES END SKID: David Backes and Kyle Brodziak scored in the second period to lead the Blues to a 5-2 victory over the host Hurricanes. St. Louis ended a three-game losing streak.

•TRADES: The Kings acquired F Kris Versteeg from Carolina for prospect Valentin Zykov and a fifth-round draft pick. … The Capitals traded F Brooks Laich, D Connor Carrick and a second-round pick to the Maple Leafs for F Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round pick.

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