Well obviously I was employing a bit of hyperbole, but the whole point was essentially that they have similar playing styles and characteristics.
You are really missing the mark. Staal is a strong, solidly built, physical two way forward who does have a knack for scoring in the NHL. He is able to produce points and has a solid all around game.
Wandell on the other hand is a smaller, two way player who gets pushed around easily against the opposing teams third and fourth lines. He has not produced at the NHL level and really doesn't have any upside.
Staal will continue to get better especially if he moves teams and plays a more prominent role.
A better comparison for Staal would be Bobby Holik and I would take Holik on this team. I'm not sure I would want to give up the assets to get Staal due to the uncertainty after this year but in a vacuum Staal would be perfect for this team. I'm a fan of Benn playing center but if we had Ribeiro and Staal as 1-2 down the middle I'd be ok with moving Benn to one of their wings.
Also, isn't a defensive specialist who also scores a decent amount called a two-way player? A 20 goal - 50'ish point player with that size and defensive ability is the definition of a two-way player.
We actually don't have a single center or player who can anchor a checking line. Staal would allow us the luxury of having a line that can play straight up against the other team's top line while also being a scoring threat. Put either Benn or Eriksson on his wing and it will be one of the best two-way lines in hockey and Staal's numbers would go up by actually playing with talented players consistently.
You're severely downplaying Staal's scoring ability. I'm not the type to get out the knee pads defending him to the masses but the dude is 24 and has four 20+ goal seasons. We need scorers but we need hockey players that can straight man-up to the other team and dictate situations - Staal can do that.
For whatever it's worth in your discussion, Staal really took a major step forward offensively this year. Way more confident with the puck, taking shots, making moves, challenging guys one on one...major transformation. He was the driving force behind the team in the abbreviated playoffs they had...and he was so valuable in the runs in '08 and '09 that a boxscore could never do it justice. He brought momentum and/or kept it for the team...
Though, there is a gap in trade value on your team from the "yeah...I don't think so guys" like Benn and Eriksson to the "that's it...? guys" like Wandell, Ott, Morrow, etc. which won't hold enough value for Pittsburgh. The team is in win now mode, so prospects like Chiasson wouldn't be tempting enough either.
Conversely, are you interested in Paul Martin? You can probably offer a "that's it...? guy" and a prospect for him...or straight up for Fistric even. The Pens need a potential crease-clearer...
Mitigated? Maybe a tiny bit. Their ages are still a much bigger deal than when they'll be UFAs. The idea behind acquiring Staal would be to then sign him to a lengthy extention and retain the player. That might not be the plan even if you wanted to acquire Ribeiro, you might just be gearing up to go all-in next season and ice the strongest possible team with a borderline 1st line center on your 2nd line.
Pens fans may need to scale back their demands, but it won't be because of Staal's contract status... it will be because of their team's cap situation. Then again I could see a bidding war escalating over Staal that could even override that factor.