After experiencing how seamless his transition was to the Wild last season, center Eric Staal expected better in 2017-18.

And so far, he's delivered on that vision.

Not only has Staal already surpassed his goal production, but he's only a point shy of tying his output from the previous season.

He might also be nudging his way into the conversation for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, chatter that can start to stir after the type of performance he put on Tuesday as Staal's hat trick and five-point effort led the Wild to an 8-3 drubbing of the Blues at Xcel Energy Center.

"If he was playing in Toronto, he'd be up for the MVP," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'll just tell you that right now. He's done everything for us."

Staal's 14th career hat trick bumped him up to 33 goals on the season, five more than he had last season, and he's at 64 points.