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Eric Staal Linked to At Least Four Teams Heading into Trade Deadline

There’s a lot of chatter about Eric Staal and a potential trade out of Buffalo. Here are four teams rumored to be interested.

Don’t look now, but veteran forward Eric Staal is quickly becoming one of the more popular names on the trade market out of Buffalo. The Sabres center has said he’s open to a move to a contender and NHL insiders have been tossing his name out there regularly over the past few days and in connection to multiple teams.

Below are a few of the rumored destinations. At the very least, these are teams we’ve heard might be kicking tires or open to the potential of bringing Staal in.

Related: Predators’ Top-Six Forward No Longer an Option for Maple Leafs

The Edmonton Oilers

TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun noted the Oilers are a team to watch and in Edmonton media, there’s been a lot of chatter about how well the veteran might fit. GM Ken Holland said if he’s going to add this season, he’s looking for leaders and experience and Staal certainly has both.

Jujhar Khaira and Gaetan Haas have done well in the Oilers bottom six, but Staal is an upgrade and he’s versatile enough that he can play in the top six or a wing position if needed.

The money situation in Edmonton is tight, but the Sabres are a team willing to take salary or retain salary which makes him an ideal target for the Oilers based both on need and practicality.

The Pittsburgh Penguins

In his latest column for The Post Gazette, Penguins insider Joe Starkey proposes that the Penguins should be looking at Staal. And, we know the Penguins are only likely to add this season to give them the best chance to compete before potentially making big changes in the offseason.

Burke and Hextall Penguins
Burke and Hextall Penguins

The scribe writes, “He’s reasonably priced ($3.5M this season) and could upgrade their bottom six in some way, shape or form.” He says to ignore Staal’s minus stats because of the fact he’s playing with Buffalo and focus on the fact that  if you lose one of your top two centers, you’d like to have a guy like Staal to plug in for a bit.

The Maple Leafs

In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman expects the Maple Leafs to make a trade in the next two weeks and named Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal and Marc Staal as potential options.

Like the Oilers, Toronto doesn’t have much cap space to simply add Staal to the mix, but they might be willing to trade another less productive forward. Toronto is looking for a fit on the 2nd line and Staal can play both center and wing.

Carolina Hurricanes

During a segment on NHL Live, Bob McKenzie noted that the Carolina Hurricanes are possibly looking at Staal. This would be a homecoming for the center who had his best years as a member of that team.

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