Staal was the second overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft. His three brothers also play pro hockey - two of them in the NHL (Eric and Marc) and one in the minor leagues (Jared). Jordan's first six seasons were with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was traded to Carolina in the summer of 2012.
He did not ease his way into the league. As a rookie, he set NHL records for being the youngest player to score a hat trick, the youngest player to score on a penalty shot, and the youngest player to score two short-handed goals in one game. He also broke the league record for most short-handed goals by a rookie (7).