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.
Staal was a massive disappointment on Broadway, delivering just six points (three goals, three assists) in 20 regualr-season games after the trade. The 32-year-old center is a free agent this offseason and is probably hoping to land a tasty deal in a new city. But Staal's declining offense since the lockout (61, 54. and 39 points) make him a potential high-priced anchor on any squad.
Despite skating to a minus-3 in a 5-2 Game 1 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday,
While there won't be many fantasy playoff formats out there that count faceoffs, the fact that the eldest Staal was so proficient at the dot bodes well for his chances to move up the Rangers' depth chart. Currently, he's out of the top six and top power-play unit, but if the former Hurricane -- who happens to have 43 points in 44 career playoff games -- continues to dominate on draws, look for him to be rewarded by head coach Alain Vigneault with a more favorable lineup assignment. For comparison's sake, fellow centers Derek Stepan went 9-for-20 and Derick Brassard won seven of 15 in the contest.
Eric Staal -- who left Saturday's game as a precaution -- practiced Monday, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.
Staal said afterward that he's fine, while confirming his status for Game 1 of the New York Rangers ' upcoming playoff series against the Penguins. "I'm not worried about it," Staal said Monday. "I'm excited for Wednesday."