Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Madden Says Staal's Future as a Pen is Up to Him

There have been a countless number of rumors over the summer about whether or not Jordan Staal would be signed to an extension prior to the the beginning of this year's training camp (and his free agency). That time has come and gone and the speculation, as it often does, has disappeared.

I came across an interesting article by Mark Madden in the Beaver County Times with his take on whether or not Staal will remain a Pittsburgh Penguin beyond his free agency following this season. I have to admit, the article makes sense (I can't believe I just said that!).

Staal has made it clear that he prefers playing Center (which was quite apparent at times last season when he looked outright awkward playing on the wing) and he's also made it well know that he wants to play on one of the top two lines.

But, as Madden points out, he can't do both; however, I believe coach Michel Therrien has resolved that issue with the compromise of placing Staal on the Malkin-Sykora line which has been extremely successful. Staal is a winger on this line, but it is the 2nd line and he has the possibility of being incredibly productive as we've witnessed in the season prior to last. His game was elevated by Malkin, his confidence grew and the entire line was unstoppable. I've already witnessed it at the first pre-season game when Staal scored a goal 51 seconds into the game - unstoppable, I tell you!

I suppose it would depend on how this season plays out. If Staal is successful (and kept on the line assuming that Therrien doesn't pull his change-each-line-every-two-seconds tactic), Madden believes that there is a greater possibility that he will remain in Pittsburgh; however, there's always that slim chance that he could struggle on this line and where would that leave him (or the Pens)? I honestly don't believe that Staal will fail at Malkin's side -- that line is just pure magic and creates endless opportunities when they're on the ice, but the closing of Madden's article sums it up best:

Staal’s fate isn’t up to Therrien, or Malkin, or anyone else. It’s in his own hands. Staal will start the campaign on a line with one of hockey’s top offensive juggernauts, and he’ll be standing right in front of the net while the NHL’s most talented power play weaves its magic. If he can’t produce, it’s on him.

Either way, Staal will get paid. But if he can establish himself as a full-time left wing and put up solid numbers, he’ll likely get paid in Pittsburgh and be a contributing part of a burgeoning dynasty. If that’s what Staal wants, it’s his to earn.

If you get a chance, visit the Beaver County Times webpage to read the article for yourself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article.

Definately food for thought, that we all want our cake.....