Wild center Eric Staal is expected to be on the move in the next 48 hours but it appears that’s not his preference. Speaking with Sarah McLellan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the veteran indicated that he’d like to remain with Minnesota and even had his agent communicate that preference earlier in the season:
I’ve felt like it’s been a good fit for me, and I’ve enjoyed playing here. This is an organization that wants to win and will do whatever it takes to win, and you can’t ask for more than that as a player. You’re just a piece and a part of that, but it’s been fun. But whatever will happen will happen.
The 34-year-old has had an up-and-down season and just snapped an 11-game goalless drought on Friday night against Detroit. However, he has already reached the 40-point mark and would be an interesting addition for a team looking for a middle-six upgrade down the middle. The Wild appear now to be sellers so there’s a good chance he’ll be on the move. Staal has a ten-team no-trade clause and has a $3.5MM cap hit.
Other news and notes from around the NHL:
- Panthers center Derick Brassard is expected to be scratched today against Los Angeles in anticipation of a trade, notes George Richards of The Athletic (Twitter link). Florida only acquired him at the beginning of the month but as they’re well out of a playoff spot and the 31-year-old is a pending free agent, it’s not surprising that they’re going to be looking to move him already. Brassard has struggled considerably this season with just 19 points in 50 games so it’s quite unlikely that Florida will come close to getting what the Senators got for Brassard at the deadline last year, a package that involved a first-round pick.
- After adding Ben Lovejoy earlier today, it appears the Stars are finished tinkering with their back end. Speaking with reporters, including Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News, GM Jim Nill stated that he’s finished adding to the back end and has shifted his focus towards adding some scoring depth. Dallas also added Jamie Oleksiak late last month and it appears they’ll be sticking with their defense-by-committee approach the rest of the way. One player that they’re not likely to get back is Stephen Johns. He has missed the entire year with concussion-like symptoms but Nill indicated (via Sean Shapiro of The Athletic on Twitter) that they expect that he will not play this season.