Staal, who is heading into a contract year, has expressed interest in sticking with Minnesota, Sean Leahy of NBC Sports reports. Fresh off one of his best seasonal outputs as an NHLer -- Staal contributed 42 goals and 34 assists without missing a game --- there are questions about how likely he is to eventually re-sign with the Wild. The heady veteran is currently only making $3.5 million in annual salary before he'd have the option of hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, Staal isn't in a rush to strike a deal, particularly because he's allowing new GM Paul Fenton to settle in. "We had some kind of conversation as far as we'll kind of approach it here once we get rolling in the season and go from there," Staal said. "I'd like to [stay]. I like it. Minnesota's been a great fit for me and I enjoy playing there, but that isn't a secret. But those are things that we'll discuss and figure out as we move forward in the next couple of months."
Staal scored a goal and added an assist in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Jets in Game 3. All the Thunder Bay, Ontario native needed to get his first (and second) points of the series was a little Minnesota home cookin', as the Wild dominated the Jets after dropping the first two games north of the border. Staal was one of five home skaters to put up two points against Winnipeg netminder Connor Hellebuyck.
Staal scored a third-period goal -- his 40th of the season -- during Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville. This was the veteran's first 40-goal showing since the 2008-09 campaign. Staal has easily been one of the most valuable fantasy contributors this year, which is especially true considering where he was being ranked and selected entering the season. Duplicating his 18.3 shooting percentage in 2018-19 will be nearly impossible, so it's probably wise to bank on some negative regression in the goal column, but Staal also has room to decline before it's a major concern.
Staal scored his 39th goal of the season in the second period, but his team fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Kings on Monday. Staal probably won't catch Alexander Ovechkin for the Richard Trophy, but he'll likely break 40 goals for the third time in his career, now that he's up to 39 on the year. At 33 years old, that's a pretty strong campaign by anyone's standards.
Staal potted two goals -- one on the power play -- in Tuesday's 6-2 win over Carolina. Staal was the only man to light the lamp in the first period, and he also beat backup Scott Darling just 15 seconds after Cam Ward was pulled in the second. The veteran forward has 30 points in the past 22 games, including a whopping 17 goals. His recent scoring binge has the two-time 40-goal scorer up to 36 in that category, just four off Alex Ovechkin's league-leading total.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||82||28||32||60||8||5||0||4||531||512||176.2|