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Minnesota Wild Will Be Patient With Potential Eric Staal Extension

Minnesota Wild Will Be Patient With Potential Eric Staal Extension
Published On: Tue, Aug 07
Nov 7, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner (53) is congratulated by teammates forward Victor Rask (49) Carolina Hurricanes forward Kris Versteeg (32) forward Eric Staal (12) defensemen Justin Faulk (27) and forward Jordan Staal (11) after his 3rd period tying goal against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Ita€™s hard to rank the absolute best contract in the league given the varied contributions that hockey players provide, but near the top of any list would have to beA Eric Staal. The former Carolina Hurricanes captain found himself struggling to record much offense during the 2015-16 season and was eventually traded to the New York Rangers. The move did nothing to help Staala€™s play and when he became an unrestricted free agent in the summer there wasna€™t a big money, long-term deal waiting. A 31-year old center who had registered 781 points in 929 games, won a Stanley Cup and was a two-time 40-goal scorer was forced to take a three-year, $10.5MM deal from the Minnesota Wild in order to refresh his career, and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.

Staal took off almost immediately in Minnesota, scoring 13 points in his first 14 games while being given more and more ice time. Head coachA Bruce BoudreauA realized what he had, and Staal would end up registering 65 points for the Wild in the 2016-17 season. Already the contract was a bargain, but there was even more to come. Staal scored 42 goals this season, trailing onlyA Alex Ovechkin,A Patrik LaineA andA William KarlssonA for the league lead. His 76 points were the most hea€™d had in a single season since 2010-11, and with just a $3.5MM cap hit he likely will go down as the best contract given out during the 2016 offseasona€”a summer that was marked with terrible deals like the ones given toA Milan Lucic,A Loui ErikssonA andA Troy Brouwer.

Now, the Wild have to start considering whether to extend Staal into the future. Hea€™ll turn 34 just a few weeks into the 2018-19 season, and could at any point take a sharp downward turn in production. Hea€™s had struggles before, and age is bound to catch up with him one day.A In Michael Russo of The Athletica€™s recent mailbag (subscription required), he writes that new Minnesota GMA Paul FentonA will wait until the year begins to start any extension talks, wanting to see his production first hand. Russo also suggests that Staal could be a trade deadline piece if the Wild take a step backwards this year.

Read the complete news article here...

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