Eric Staal has signed a professional tryout contract with the AHL’s Iowa Wild as he begins his preparation to be part of Canada’s 2022 Olympic men’s roster.
The 37-year-old Staal last played with the Canadiens during their run to the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Final. He was on the ice July 7 when the Lightning clinched the Cup and then went unsigned after the NHL free agent market opened in the summer.
Staal’s AHL stint is expected to begin this weekend. Should he be named to Canada’s men’s roster, he’ll join up with the team in Beijing for the Olympics in a few weeks. Canada opens up the tournament Feb. 10 against Germany.
Hockey Canada is expected to announce the full men’s roster the week of Jan. 24.
Staal has played 1,293 NHL games with five teams. The only time in his career he’s played in the AHL was during the 2004-05 lockout season.
The 2022 Olympics will be Staal’s second in his hockey career. He was part of the 2010 Canadian squad that won gold over the U.S. in Vancouver. The forward finished the tournament with a goal and six points in seven games. He last represented Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
Olympic men’s tournament groups
Group A: Canada, U.S., Germany, China
Group B: ROC, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark
Group C: Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, Latvia
The 2022 Olympic Games from Beijing, China will air on the networks of NBC beginning Friday, Feb. 4.