Future uncertain for Staal
Published: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 14:05
The pressing question: Jordan Staal – keep him, trade him or let him leave?
Now that the offseason for the Penguins is in full swing, the trade rumors surrounding Jordan Staal have begun. With the salary cap working against them and the three big names of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Staal, all coming to the end of their contracts, this offseason will shape what could be a new team.
Both Crosby and Staal’s contracts are up at the end of next season and Malkin the year after. After Staal’s performance in the playoffs, where he was the Penguins leading scorer, he made a good marketing ploy to other teams, whether he meant to or not.
If the Penguins are unable to keep Staal, but decide not to trade him, the offers from other teams looking for a top or second-line center could roll in. Staal’s defensive skills and offensive capabilities make him a good fit for many teams that need both. But there is a problem. The Penguins need that too.
The needs for a defensive-minded center will not go away for the Penguins, especially if the defensive issues are not addressed in the offseason. Ray Shero’s biggest problem, however, will be Staal and what to do, or not do, with him.
Pittsburgh will need to figure out how to handle the situation with Staal, the salary cap and address their needs on the defense if they are going to have even a slight chance of heading back to the Stanley Cup.