Veteran center Eric Staal remains one of the more notable unrestricted free agents looking for a place to play this season. As Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic detailed in TSN’s recent Insider Trading segment, Staal’s preference would be to play in the United States over returning to a Canadian-based squad. The 36-year-old struggled considerably with Buffalo and Montreal last season although he managed to hold down a regular spot on the fourth line for the Canadiens in their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Staal’s preference appears to be returning to Minnesota which is where he played from 2016-17 through 2019-20 but the Wild aren’t believed to have interest in a reunion at this time.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- Don’t be surprised to see plenty of shootouts in the preseason. The league announced (Twitter link) that every game will have the potential to have a shootout and that it’s up to the teams to decide if they want to have one. This was done back when the shootout first came into the league back in 2005-06 as an opportunity for teams to practice and they’ll now have the opportunity to work on that element in the coming weeks.
- Rene Fasel’s time as IIHF President has officially come to an end after 27 years. The IIHF revealed its election results today and France’s Luc Tardif won in the fourth and final round of voting with Fasel not seeking re-election. Tardif was born in Canada and briefly played in the QMJHL before moving to France in the late 1970s to play in France’s professional league. Meanwhile, long-time NHL veteran Pavel Bure was elected to the IIHF’s Council. Each will serve a five-year term that runs through 2026.
- The CHL announced that the annual Canada-Russia series has been canceled for this season. The event, which sees some drafted and draft-eligible Russian prospects take on the best players from each of the three major junior leagues (mostly NHL-drafted players) in advance of the World Juniors, is expected to return for 2022-23.