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06-02-2012, 01:18 PM
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I honestly always thought that the speculation that Staal would be available because he supposedly wanted a 'bigger role' was patently ridiculous and falls apart with even the barest of examination. Most Pens' fans seem to think the same. I posted a poll on the Pens' board a few weeks ago asking about what people thought would happen with Staal and the majority of well over 100 responses had him resigning with the Pens. But let us examine the speculation that has launched a thousand threads. That Staal is supposedly unhappy with his role:

1. Sid and Geno keep him off the ice, don't they?

He averaged 20:03 minutes per game this year and 21:21 per game last year. So he is playing first line minutes already.

2. He is held back by playing behind Sid and Geno, right?

Jordan Staal had a PPG of 0.81 this year. That puts him as the top line center on almost half the teams in the NHL:

Anaheim (0.70 Getzlaf)
Buffalo (0.55 Roy)
Calgary (0.74 Jokinen)
Colorado (0.68 O'Reilly)
Columbus (0.55 Brassard)
Florida (0.71 Weiss)
Minnesota (0.80 Koivu)
Montreal (0.74 Desharnais)
Nashville (0.71 Fisher)
NY Rangers (0.80 Richards)
Phoenix (0.45 Vermette)
St. Louis (0.66 Backes)
Toronto (0.69 Grabovski)
Winnipeg (0.62 Little)

All while playing stellar defense and being assigned a role in shutting down the other team's top player.

3. Staal does not get the first team PP time.

Really? He is leaving because of that? Having watched Staal for six years now he does not seem the type to throw hissy fits over something that trivial, but I am sure some assurances could be made if that is what is ticking him off so much.

4. His feelings are feeling the ouchies over being called a third line center.

Do I really need to address this one?

Look at the above collection of reasons given why Staal would be demanding out. It seems to be at the very least awfully thin when you spell them out, don't they? Look on the other side of the ledger. By all accounts he enjoys his time here. He has won a cup already and the core of this team seems likely to be locked up and one of the cup favorites year after year. The two best players in the NHL are his teammates. He has been able to grow and is valued on the Pens. Other players give discounts to come to this team.

I have no crystal ball. But actually would be surprised if he did not sign with the Pens. The reasons given for him not to are just way too thin. It might happen, but a smart person would put the odds against a trade.

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