The beginning of Eric Staal’s season reflected that of his team, the Minnesota Wild. The Wild was 2-6 in its first eight games and Staal had only two assists and was a minus-9 at that time.
It seemed that both Wild and Staal were in a long season. But that has changed, especially for Staal.
The 35-year-old had two goals and one assist in the ninth game of the Wild, a 3-0 victory over Edmonton, and has 15 goals and 30 points and is a plus-4 in the last 32 games. That production made Staal selected to be Wild’s representative at the NHL All-Star Game on January 25 in St. Louis.
She is the sixth All-Star team of Staal’s 16-year NHL career and her second with The Wild (2018). He played in four All-Star Games while with the Carolina Hurricanes, was named MVP of the 2008 game and served as Team Staal captain in the 2011 game in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Staal leads the Wild in scoring (32 points), goals (15), winning goals (four) and multipoint games (seven) and ranks second in assists (17). He recorded a goal for his 1,000th NHL point in Chicago on December 15 to become the 89th player in the history of the NHL (sixth active) to reach the milestone.
Staal will play for the Central Division team that will feature Nathan Mackinnon of Colorado as their captain. The All-Star format will again feature a simple four-team elimination format (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific divisions), 3 vs. 3.