First, it was Alex Semin's turn.
Now, it's Jordan Staal's, albeit with a twist.
Semin has had his return to Washington to face the Capitals. The former Caps star went back Tuesday to the Verizon Center with the Hurricanes, back to where he spent seven productive seasons, only to lose the game 3-0.
For Staal, the game Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins may not be quite as emotional. For one thing, it won't be in Pittsburgh. That will have to wait until the final game of the regular season. But competing against his former teammates, against a team he helped win the 2009 Stanley Cup, will be decidedly special.
"It's going to be fun," Jordan said Tuesday. "Obviously I was there for a long time and I have a lot of fond memories with that organization. We'll be playing against a good team and there will be a lot of new challenges and it will be a good challenge for myself.
'It's going to be weird. I've seen it a lot, being in Pittsburgh and seeing other guys go. Now to be on the other side is a little different. It's just going to be fun to play against those guys and just try to beat them."
Staal was the Pens' first-round selection and the second overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. In six seasons in Pittsburgh, he played more than 500 regular-season and playoff games, growing up in the organization, making friends, winning a Cup.
Then, on his wedding day, with so many of his Pens teammates in Thunder Bay, Ont., for the big day, Jordan was traded to the Canes. It was June 22, 2012, ironically on the day Pittsburgh was hosting the NHL draft at Consol Energy Center.
Jordan said he has talked to quite a few of the Pens players since that day, noting there were other weddings to attend.
"We were able to hang out, and I've kept in pretty good contact with a lot of guys there," he said. "I had a great time there in Pittsburgh."
But No. 11 for the Pens now is No. 11 for the Canes. The NHL lockout delayed his debut, but Staal has joined brother Eric Staal in giving the Hurricanes two strong centers.
"Obviously any time you come from an organization after a long period of a time it's a bit of an adjustment. But I think it's been pretty seamless for him coming in," Eric Staal said. "He's a smart hockey player, he knows the game. Obviously knowing me and knowing some of the other players who have been here is kind of nice. He will be a big part of this team for a long time.
"It's been fun. After games we can leave together, drive to the airport, talk about the game. Before we used to be talking about his game and my game. Now we're talking about it together. It's fun to be able to have those conversations with your brother. It's been pretty cool having him on the team."
To get Jordan Staal to Carolina, the Canes have to give up center Brandon Sutter. On the day of the trade, and several times since then, Eric Staal has said Sutter was like a fourth brother to him.
Where Eric Staal once dueled with Jordan when the Canes faced the Pens, it may be Eric facing off against Sutter on Thursday at PNC Arena.
For Sutter, it will be much like Semin. He'll be the one making a return to face the team that drafted him and developed him.
"I'm excited to see him," Eric Staal said. "I've stayed in touch with Brandon a lot for the last little while, wondering how it's been for him in (Pittsburgh). We've been texting a lot.
"He definitely was as close to a brother as I could have. I sat beside him the locker room for years, kind of watched him grow his first couple of years in the league. He's obviously going to be a player who plays a long, long time.
"We would have loved to have been able to keep him, but you have to give a little bit to get good and we definitely gave up a good player in Brandon."