The Florida Panthers are signing Eric Staal to a one-year, $750,000 contract, sources told ESPN, adding the veteran forward to a roster that also includes his younger brother Marc.
Staal had been with the Panthers since they gave him a professional tryout deal in July, and general manager Bill Zito said earlier in the week that they were trying to find a way to fit Staal into their salary cap.
The team has short-term flexibility after putting star defenseman Aaron Ekblad on long-term injured reserve. Because of salary-cap constraints, the Panthers have not been able to carry a full 23-man roster yet this season.
Staal, 37, is not expected to play Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning but should debut Sunday against the New York Islanders.
Staal did not play for an NHL team last season but continued to train hoping for an opportunity. He captained Canada at the 2022 Olympics, tallying one goal and four assists in five games. Canada finished in sixth place, and Staal was unable to parlay it into a midseason NHL contract.
The Panthers will be Staal’s sixth NHL team, following 1,293 career games with the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens in which he has totaled 1,034 points.
Defenseman Marc Staal also joined the Panthers on a one-year, $750,000 contract as a free agent during the offseason.