A couple days ago, I read Darren Dreger's comments in an interview he gave on Sportsradio 93-7 about the potentiality of trading Evgeni Malkin rather than Jordan Staal during the offseason. Understanding that a new CBA being negotiated could change this development for Penguins GM Ray Shero, this is an interesting and [or] disturbing thought for a few reasons.
Before I say anything about this situation, if this is the worst problem for the Penguins right now, then I think they should realize the team could have been in Kansas City or Las Vegas by now. If having to choose between arguably the best offensive player in the NHL and arguably the best two-way forward in the NHL is such a horrible problem, then there is no making the Penguins happy.
In a salary cap environment, it is
impossible to keep a core of player like the Penguins have for a very long time. If you're lucky, you can keep a core like Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury, Letang for about 5 years. They've all been on the same team since the 2007-2008 season, which 5 years later puts them smack-dab right at this offseason. It wasn't going to last forever, and I hope Penguins management and Penguins fans have prepared themselves for what's coming. It won't be a mass exodus, but it might feel like it.
From an organizational standpoint, I think the Penguins found themselves in a very advantageous position: both Malkin and Staal are at their most valuable. Malkin has come off of knee surgery to regain his form from 2008-2009 season while racking up a career high 50 goals. Staal set a career high 50pts this season, while only playing in 62games. They both are in the prime of their careers, both have tons of Stanley Cup experience, and at ages 25 and 23 respectively, Malkin and Staal have a lot more to give for a very long time. If I were Ray Shero, as much as it might hurt to trade either of these players, I'd be excited for the potential returns for either player.
If I were an NHL GM, which is probably a good thing I'm not (thought Alexei Ponikarovsky was going to work out great
), I'd say Malkin has more value than Staal. It's hard to argue with a proven track record of offensive dominance and a willingness to carry a team on your back. There hasn't been a lot of players that have been able to do that consistently in NHL history. You could realistically put Malkin in that catergory.
Staal might not be able to do it all himself, but neither could Jere Lehtinen or Ron Francis. And, the last time I checked, Lehtinen has three Selke Trophies, and Ron Francis is a hall of famer. Lehtinen and Francis needed a supporting cast of talented players around them in order to be such great, balanced players. If Staal is traded to a team that puts him into a an elevated position, but doesn't solely rely on him for his offense, he can reach a level that Francis reached throughout his career with consistency.
Of course, if favorable CBA negotiations come to fruition, i.e. amnesty buyout option, this might be a non-issue for the Penguins. However, like I've stated, no good thing lasts forever. Before you know it, the Penguins will have more great players slated for UFA status, and more difficult choices to make. I wonder if maybe the Penguins should bite the bullet now, and plan for a much more distant future. Either way, I've already mentally placed both guys in many different jerseys, including the ones they've been wearing.
With 1 year left on Staal's deal and 2 years left on Malkin's (both go to UFA) the value you will get for them is limited. Too bad with better a better contract situation they would bring a kings ransom in return.
penguins need to make a decision about staal. try and get him resigned, but if that doesn't work, you need to think about trading him. you can't afford to lose him for nothing.
I doubt Staal or Malkin's stock could be higher, even if they exceed expectations next year. If the Penguins want to maximize their return for either, something needs to happen before next season. The reason for that is simple: the beginning of next season, every one of the Penguins superstars will begin the season healthy [crossing fingers]. It will be very easy for Staal to get lost in the shuffle, unless he moves to the wing.
If not due to injuries I really thought Staal could have challenged for the Selke the last two years and I also think he will be a contender for it many times in the future. The Penguins really need to make sure this guy is part of their organization for many years to come. I guess it all comes down to how the new CBA works out be regardless he needs to be signed.
2 things: there is a question of who has more value, malkinor staal?Staal=Francis?Over-rating much?
It's odd to me that its always malkin or staal. there is another center on the pens who could be moved. I love Crosby, but he should be in the conversation. If it wasn't for his recent injuries, it would be a no brainer (pun intended), but he is a gamble still, despite his successful recent comeback. not saying he should go, but exclude him just because he is sid the kid
Bobby, in terms of offense, Staal could match up to Francis one day. In terms of defense, I think Staal is better. Francis, in the beginning, wasn't the best two-way forward he ended up. Chris, I actually think Penguins fans also need to prepare themselves for an Edmonton-style heartbreak. It might not happen for a little while, but I think it will get to a point where a return for Crosby might be too good to pass up.
Nice blog. It will definitely be an interesting offseason in Pittsburgh for sure.