from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
After spending his entire career in New York, Staal quickly warmed up to his new surroundings.
“I had a lot of fun this season,” Staal said. “It was good to have a fresh start. I enjoyed going to the rink every day. Really nothing but positives my whole experience start to finish. Got a good opportunity to play and for the most part I was playing quite a few minutes.”
He added, “It’s a fun D corps to play with, a lot of great guys, not a lot of big, selfish personalities, everyone just wanting to play well and help the team win.”
Clubs can sign players they hold the rights to anytime before free agency opens on July 23, but nothing is likely to transpire with UFAs until after the July 21 Seattle expansion draft. That way teams won’t need to protect or expose those players.
Staal also said he is “kind of anxious” to see what transpires in free agency. Brother Eric, 36, also is a UFA and Staal mused about possibly having a rare opportunity to play with one of his brothers (Jordan plays for Carolina).
“We had 20 games in New York after the (2016) trade deadline; that was fun,” Staal said. “When you have two brothers in the league, it’s always a possibility to try to play with one of them because it’s a pretty unique opportunity.”
Wherever Staal signs, it will be for significantly less than the $5.7 million cap hit he had from his most recent Rangers contract.