When the Wild signed Eric Staal at the start of the 2016 season, it appeared they were paying handsomely for a washed-up star. He’d scored a mere 13 goals the previous year before being unceremoniously jettisoned by the New York Rangers. But Staal would find rebirth in St. Paul, returning to all-star form as a rugged two-way center and the team’s finest offensive threat. His cunning shot, mixed with an intrinsic understanding of where to be on the ice, led him to become only the second Wild player to ever reach the 40-goal mark. And while some are pitching him in MVP discussions, the depth of his modesty still matches the depth of his value to the team.
Readers’ Choice: Zach Parise