A Closer Look At The Staal Trade

There was a lot going on Friday night and Saturday in Pittsburgh.  The Penguins hosted the draft, they made the trade of the draft, and they selected twice on Friday.  It was an extremely busy day, so it now finally sinks in that the Penguins really made a few huge moves on Friday.

On Staal – The 6’4 225lb center who was drafted second overall in 2006 was one of, if not the most, underrated center in the NHL.  Staal has only truly played with top six talent once in his career consistently and he scored 29 goals. 

Over the past two seasons he was on pace for over 60 points and 30 goals.  Staal is one of the best penalty killers in the league.  He has the rookie NHL record for shorthanded goals. 

Staal was well on his way to stardom, but it became all too clear that it wasn’t possible in Pittsburgh. 

Staal needed more time, needed better players, and needed to keep his center position.  Staal was not comfortable moving to a winger position and in all fairness, neither was Crosby or Malkin.  So Pittsburgh -with humility- traded him.  They received tremendous value for Staal as well.

The Pens traded Staal to Carolina, despite multiple teams asking.  Pittsburgh had too much respect for Staal to send him somewhere else, but they also wanted a certain few players. 

23-year old center Brandon Sutter was on Pittsburgh’s radar as soon as speculation started about Staal leaving. Sutter brings a very strong physical game and a surprising offensive game. 

He will become the true third-line center for the Penguins as he brings everything to the table, including a great skill set on the penalty kill. 

The Penguins would also receive big bodied prospect Brian Dumoulin, who is one of the best young defensive prospects around.  His 6-foot-4, 210 pound frame is one of the biggest reasons the Penguins finalized the deal. 

The number eight pick was a huge win for Pittsburgh as they were able to securely draft Derrick Pouliot.  The 5’11 speedy defenseman has a lot of game in him. 

He has a booming shot, a heads up pass, and a knack for carrying the puck out of tight zones.  He reminded the Penguins brass so much of Kris Letang, that they took him roughly 10 spots higher than he was projected.

He also plays on a power play with last year’s first round pick Joe Morrow (Portland Winterhawks).  The possible development of teammates became too good to pass on.

It truly sounds as if Pittsburgh won this trade, but that just isn’t the case.  Jordan Staal was the biggest asset of the trade, the best player in the trade, and Pittsburgh was lucky enough to get fair market value for him. 

Carolina is now a much stronger team on top.  They now have two very good Staals and another prospect.  They have a few good European’s, a top flight youngster in Skinner, and plenty of cap space to make a move on July 1. 

This was a pure hockey trade were each team accomplished what they needed and what they wanted. 

Best of luck to Jordan Staal next season and throughout his entire career. Hockey fans can only hope he continues to grow into an elite player.  He gave Pittsburgh six amazing seasons and will forever have his name scratched on Lord Stanley’s Cup as a Penguin.  



Andrew Schopp's picture

Jordan will be skating along side his brother on the same line. It will be interesting to see how Eric adjusts to playing the wing. Depending on who the third man is, and how they click, Carolina could be home to an absolutely deadly top line, maybe even the best in the East. Staal-Staal-Skinner doesn't sound to shabby to me.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Sounds deadly. It would be up there with the Malkin, Kunitz, Neal line and the Ryan, Getzlaf, Perry line out west. Just big dangerous scorers.