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When free agency opened on July 1, the Minnesota Wild were in need of a center and wasted little time finding their match in Eric Staal. Staal spent 12 years in Carolina putting up big numbers between 2005-2012.
He could of easily signed a similar deal to what David Backes signed for. Instead he took lesser money because he saw Minnesota as a team that could compete for a Stanley Cup and it was Zach Parise who helped him solidify that decision.
Staal told Wild.TV, "It was kind of an honest conversation. He thought there was an opportunity there for me to play center and play with some good players." Staal also spoke of Parise's competitive nature, "Those are players you want to play with, you want to play with guys that compete."
When Parise was a free agent in the summer of 2012, Staal tried to make a pitch to Parise to have him sign with Carolina but he elected for Minnesota and has been with the Wild ever since.
The NHL season ended in June and training camp still doesn't open up until the fall but according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Staal will center a line with Parise and Charlie Coyle but that can obviously change by the time the season starts.