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Could Rangers trade for Eric Staal at NHL trade deadline to join brother Marc?

Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal celebrates his goal

Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of an NHL game in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Credit: AP / Gerry Broome

ST. LOUIS — With Monday’s NHL trade deadline approaching, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton was back in New York working the phones. It’s clear that the Rangers are buyers, but the scope of what will shake out is uncertain.

“Because of what we’ve done the last couple years [playing in the Stanley Cup Final and being one game away from returning], there’s good experience here, and I believe there’s a big will to win,” coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday. “So we’re looking at all possibilities . . . I think this group is battle-tested. I think this core group deserves another kick at the can. If we can improve ourselves, we’re going to take a look at it.”

One name that keeps surfacing is Eric Staal, 31, the 6-4 center who won the Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. The older brother of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will be a free agent this summer and recently said he wouldn’t be “crushed” if asked to waive his no-trade clause.

On Thursday, Marc Staal said Eric was torn because he’d been with Carolina for 12 years and the rebuilding club is making a run at a wild-card spot. “He’s excited for Monday, because all this [speculation] will be over . . . one way or the other,” Marc Staal said.

Jordan Staal, who is the youngest of the three brothers in the NHL and who has played with Eric since 2012, was asked about the possibility of Eric becoming a Ranger.

“Whether that happens or not, it’d be pretty neat to see them playing together as well,” Jordan told TSN. “Brothers stealing brothers is not what I want to see, but at the end of the day, if that’s the way it works out, that’s the way it works out. To play alongside your brother and battle for two points every night, you pinch yourself every once in a while. It’s been really cool.”

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