Over the last week there’s been an increasingly large amount of talk about Sidney Crosby‘s impending contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Elliotte Friedman and the rest of the Hotstove crew from Hockey Night In Canada talked in depth about Crosby’s rumored deal, thought to be at least 10 years and worth an average of $9 million a year. They also mentioned how such a deal could mean the end of Jordan Staal‘s time in Pittsburgh. Penguins GM Ray Shero has said that he wants to resign both Crosby and Staal before they become UFAs in 2013, but it’s obvious that the focus is on Crosby, as it should be. So what happens if Pittsburgh management deems Jordan Staal expendable because his cap hit simply could not work with the combination of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? Well, the Penguins will obviously want to deal him to another team before he walks as a UFA in 2013. The only real question is if that’ll happen this summer or sometime next season.
Should Jordan Staal become available during this offseason, the Dallas Stars need to do everything in their power to court and pursue the 23 year old center.
No one needs to sing Staal’s praises, we all know how astounding of a player he is, but I’m going to do it anyway. Staal only played 62 games in 2011-2012 and still managed to produce a career high 25 goals and 50 points. He’s one of the premier penalty killers in the league and is a constant short handed threat on the ice. When his responsibilities increased with the absence of Crosby, he blossomed. He’s the top six center the Stars desperately need, he’s the defensive stalwart forward that could only bolster the penalty kill and he’s the exact type of player that could grow with a core that’s of similar age with the potential to be a dominant force in the league for years to come. Of course, trading for Jordan Staal will neither be easy or cheap. The Carolina Hurricanes are the most heavily rumored team to desire Jordan Staal’s services, with Carolina management wanting to unite Eric and Jordan Staal, bolstering a weak forward unit and getting them back into the playoffs. It’ll be an all out war for Staal and it all comes down to who has the pieces the Penguins most desire.
It’s far too early to speculate on who and what it may cost the Dallas Stars to acquire the Staal, for all we know he remains with the Penguins and trade talks aren’t even considered. The possibility is intriguing though, and with Crosby’s mammoth contract inevitable and Evgeni Malkin not far behind, it seems obvious that Jordan Staal will be the odd man out eventually. The free agent pool is not nearly deep enough to completely solve the Stars offensive problems, as I’ve previously written about. If Ray Shero decides to put Jordan Staal on the trading block, he’s a must have for the Dallas Stars.
It’s going to be a wild summer in the NHL, but a crucial one for the Dallas Stars. They can’t afford another year without the playoffs, not after coming so close for two years straight. Joe Nieuwendyk has to make bold moves to get the right pieces. Every single Stars fans should buckle in for the ride.
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