Staal signs professional tryout contract with Wild AHL affiliate

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Eric Staal signed a professional tryout contract with the Minnesota Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate in Iowa on Thursday.

The 37-year-old center last played in the NHL last season with the Montreal Canadiens after he was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on March 26. Staal played 311 games in four seasons with the Wild (2016-20) and has scored 1,034 points (441 goals, 593 assists) in 1,293 games during 17 seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Wild, Sabres and Canadiens after he was chosen by Carolina with the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft.

Staal scored NHL career highs in goals (45), assists (55) and points (100) with the Hurricanes in 2005-06. He was fourth in voting for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the NHL, and led the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 25 games to help the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup.

Staal led the Hurricanes in scoring eight times from 2005-06 through 2014-15. His streak of 349 consecutive games played between March 20, 2004 and Nov. 1, 2009 is a Carolina/Hartford Whalers record. He replaced Rod Brind’Amour as Hurricanes captain Jan. 20, 2010 and held the position until he was traded to the Rangers on Feb. 28, 2016.

Staal helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and finish first at the 2007 IIHF World Championship.

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