Wild agree to terms with free agents Staal, Stewart
The Minnesota Wild have agreed to terms with free-agent center Eric Staal on a three-year, $10.5 million contract.
The 31-year-old recorded 10 goals and 23 assists in 63 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season before he was traded to the New York Rangers in February. He recorded three goals and three assists in 20 games with the Rangers.
Staal has 325 goals, 456 assists and 680 penalty minutes in 929 career NHL games since 2003. He’s a four-time NHL All Star (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011) and has 19 career playoff goals.
Drafted second overall in 2003 by Carolina, Staal had a career-high 45 goals and 55 assists in 2005-06. He hasn’t scored more than 30 goals since the 2010-11 season.
"He was very excited about this opportunity," Wild coach Bruce Bourdeau said. "He wants to be the Eric Staal he was in the past."
Staal said he’s excited for the opportunity to play with a group that "expects to win." He added that he feels his game will mesh well with that of Zach Parise.
The Wild on Friday also agreed to terms with free-agent forward Chris Stewart on a two-year, $2.3 million contract. The 28-year-old Stewart played in 20 regular-season games and eight playoff games for the Wild in 2014-15. He tallied eight goals and 12 assists in 56 regular-season games for the Anaheim Ducks last season, adding a goal and two assists in seven playoff games.
"I was impressed with how good of a team guy he was," Boudreau said. "He stood up for everybody. Plus he can play."
Stewart has played 519 career NHL games over eight seasons with Colorado, St. Louis, Buffalo, Minnesota and Anaheim. He was the 18th overall pick by Colorado in the 2006 NHL Draft.