Eric Staal signs professional tryout (PTO) contract

The 37 year old veteran ain't done yet!

Eric Staal signs professional tryout (PTO) contract

This just in, 37 year old veteran NHLer Eric Staal has signed a professional tryout (PTO) contract with the Iowa Wild, AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.

But here's the thing... Staal isn't using this PTO as a spring-board to an NHL return, at least not entirely. According to multiple sources the plan is for Staal to get in some games at the AHL level and bring up his level of conditioning so that he can join Canada's Olympic roster for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

With the NHL once again opting out of the Olympics veteran guys outside the NHL like Staal will have an opportunity for one last chance at Olympic gold. Staal, of course, won gold with Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Frankly, I'm stoked that he'll get another opportunity on the international stage and I personally think he'd be an excellent choice to wear the "C" on his chest as Canada's captain for the upcoming games.

Now, this doesn't mean that Staal is just going to suit up for the Olympics and then fade away into obscurity. He's very much using the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase himself to NHL GMs in the hopes of landing a contract for the balance of the 2021-22 season.

 Staal split last season between the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens, scoring five goals and 13 points in 53 games. He also played in 21 playoff games for the Canadiens during their run to the Stanley Cup Final, potting two goals and eight points along the way. He's, of course, a Stanley Cup champion from his time with the Carolina Hurricanes and has also suited up in the NHL with the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, as well as the Sabres and Habs.

In his prime (2005 - 2013ish) Staal was a dominant power forward with the ability to put up 30+ goals a season. He even put up a remarkable 45 goals and 100 points in the Hurricanes' Stanley Cup championship 2005-06 campaign. While he may not be that player any longer, he's still a capable forward with natural offensive instincts and a wealth of experience. Again, he should serve Team Canada very well if they choose to include him on their roster.