The Minnesota Wild have signed 31-year-old former Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. He’s headed to St. Paul on a three-year contract carrying a $3.5 million AAV, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Staal isn’t in the prime of his career, but he isn’t over the hill either. This season he posted 13 goals and 39 points through 83 games split between the Hurricanes and New York Rangers. It was a down year, and came on the heels of a 23-goal, 54-point campaign the year before.
The Wild needs more depth scoring and a center, and Staal can provide a bit of that at a fairly reasonable price. Their need for a center is significant even if Mikael Granlund sticks at center, and there’s reason to believe that he won’t. The team may now think he could find more success at wing. He was there at the end of the season and during the World Championship, when he was looking his best.
Getting Staal isn’t going to be a massive offensive boost, but it gives the team options down the middle as they wait for some prospects to develop. The re-signing of Tyler Graovac also gives them an option for center depth. He made the team out of camp last year, but an injury plagued season didn’t allow him to the make the impact he’d hoped.