Staal scored two goals -- including the game-winner in the third period -- on five shots and went plus-2 against the Leafs on Thursday.
He also won 13 of 17 faceoffs, rounding out a brilliant night. Staal's still looking for his first assist, but he has three goals in four games to start the year. The ice time's certainly there, though fantasy owners should still be a bit wary of the oldest Staal brother after he slumped his way to only 39 points between the Hurricanes and Rangers last season.
Staal has three shots on goal in each of his first two games with the Wild and is getting plenty of ice time (19:13) with the top line. He'll get every opportunity to have a bounceback season after a disappointing season with the Hurricanes and Rangers last year.
Staal scored a goal in Sunday's preseason win over Calgary. It was his first appearance as the center on a line with Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
If one game is evidence, Staal could be set for a bounce-back season thanks to his spot on Minnesota's top line.
Staal is coming off a low season that saw him produce just 13 goals and 39 points in 83 games. That included six points in 20 games with the Rangers after a deadline deal. He's 31 years old and his best days are behind him. But in the right role, Staal can still be a middle-six forward and that's likely where the Wild will deploy him. Mikko Koivu remains the top pivot and Charlie Coyle is the team's rising number two.
Staal, a pending unrestricted free agent, is attracting interest from the Wild, the Star Tribune reports.
Staal's camp has been talking with the Wild ahead of the free-agent signing period opening July 1. "There's mutual interest and consideration that there is a fit with Minnesota," said Staal's agent Rick Curran. "We've had conversation and I would also suggest Eric was extremely impressed." As a four-time NHL All-Star who's won a Stanley Cup (2006), there's bound to be even more teams interested in Staal on the open market, but he is 31 years old and past his prime. He was traded to the Rangers last February after spending more than 11 seasons with the Hurricanes, but struggled to adjust in New York and only ended up with six points in 20 regular-season games -- he also went pointless with a minus-7 rating in the postseason. Staal's asking price is sure to come down after finishing out a seven-year deal with an annual average value of $8.25 million.