So I had already planned to write a blog tonight about the entire Jordan Staal fiasco. You know what I am talking about. That the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ray Shero, offered the star centre a monster 10 year contract worth a reported 60 million dollars. Staal, who is in the final year of his current contract, would become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of next season and Shero wanted to lock him up.
Things did not go according to plan, as Staal rejected the contract offer and made it known that he was not willingly to sign any extension at this time. This left Shero and the brain trust of the Pittsburgh Penguins in a very tough spot. Do you leave things status quo and take the chance that Staal could walk at the end of next season or do you pro-actively make a trade that would allow the Penguins a chance at a great return and maybe also one that would be beneficial for Staal as well.
As I was watching the 2012 NHL Entry Draft that was happening in Pittsburgh (ironically enough) NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Carolina Hurricanes traded the 8th overall pick (which was next to draft), Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jordan Staal.
This is a great deal for a lot of reasons. Let’s make a list:
1) It allows the Penguins to have some form of return for Staal. I really do think he would have walked after next season and it is crazy for Shero not to want to get anything for him. If he would have waited until the trade deadline he would have lost value, so this move needed to be done as soon as possible.
2) It allows the Penguins to repay Staal for everything that he helped build in Pittsburgh. They are able to trade him to be on the same team as his brother Eric, which would have been a location that Staal would have preferred.
3) It allows the Penguins to replace Staal with a player who is more or less Staal-lite. Brandon Sutter is a right handed shot who will slide into the number 3 center spot behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Last season at only 23 years old he was an alternate captain in Carolina, played in 82 games, scored 17 goals, 15 assists for 32 points. He has potential to top out at 25 goals and 50 points and play a very good 2 way game.
4) It allows the Penguins to add more depth to their defensive core. They selected Derrick Pouliot from the WHL. He has been compared to Michael Del Zotto of the New York Ranger and also Kristopher Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The area that the Penguins were deemed week last season, is now shaping up to be one of it’s strength.
5) It allows the Penguins to get Staal’s salary off the books right away. There has been speculation that Shero and The Penguins will be pursuing unrestricted free agent Zach Parise who was with the New Jersey Devils this past season and captained them to the Stanley Cup finals. Parise and Sidney Crosby are very close friends and that could be the key factor in a potential Parise signing.
Even though it is sad to see Jordan Staal leave Pittsburgh, I think the moment he turned down the contract extension he needed to be moved. He more or less forced the Penguins to move him as he knew that they could not afford to let him walk and get nothing in return.
I like the addition of Sutter as he has a pedigree of a strong work ethic, great leadership and a modest scoring touch. He will play hard and bleed black and gold. The chance to snag a top 10 pick to draft a defenseman was a fantastic opportunity for the Penguins and they now have Simon Despres, Scott Harrington, Joseph Morrow and now Derrick Pouliot in the mix.
I do believe that the three centre system had grown antiquated and something needed to change. After two straight first round losses, the Penguins would probably only have given it one more season to work and would have been forced by Staal to end it as he would have been an unrestricted free agent.
This trade is a great move by the Penguins and it will be exciting to see who else the Penguins can now pursue with the freed up money under the salary cap. The look and chemistry of the Pittsburgh Penguins has changed drastically and it needed to.
GO PENS GO!!!!
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