With the season set to begin on Jan. 19, Staal's excited to officially sport the Hurricanes sweater.
"It feels like it's been a long visit here," he told the Raleigh News & Observer. "It's nice to be back in the room and having that light at the end of the tunnel."
With camps set to open this Sunday, that gives teams six days of official training before the season gets underway. Staal knows the first part of the season is going to be a grind.
"I'm sure it's going to be a whirlwind," he said. "It's not going to be easy. Every game will be that much bigger, knowing you have a short season. It's going to be interesting."
Meanwhile, Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward hasn't played a game since April 5 against Montreal and is just as eager to get into game shape.
"Obviously I've been skating and trying to do the best I can to stay in good shape and stay on the ice, but game situations are a little different than having six guys (at RCI) skating on the same drills every time we're out there," Ward told the paper. "It's going to be an important week before the first regular-season game to prepare, but I'm sure the rust will start to come off knowing the adrenaline that's going to be pumping."