Staal could go elsewhere, and I believe his game would go to the next level, and that is part of the issue the Pens are facing.
Is Staal looking for a fresh start for a team that allows him to see more ice time?
TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted:
My take on Jordan Staal situation: PIT doesn't want to trade him, wants to sign him and may make him a long-term (7 to 10 yrs maybe?) offer.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 20, 2012
At that point, it would be up to Staal to commit long term to Pens or not sign. If it's not, PIT would have to explore trade options.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 20, 2012
As a pending free agent, Staal has the Penguins in a tough spot. Pittsburgh could have traded him last season, and it would have been in better control of the situation. But as Mackenzie mentioned, it wants to keep Staal.
Who can blame the Penguins? He's young, big, talented and proven. That's generally a combination you want to hold on to. He's also coming off arguably his best year in 2011-12 where he scored 25 goals and had 25 assists.
The 50 points was the highest point total of his career, and his plus-11 was his third highest +/- total.
With his diminished trade value, due to his impending free agency, the Pens have to throw money at this problem. With the health of Sidney Crosby a concern, the Penguins need to maintain quality centers for depth.
They have the luxury of three elite centers with Crosby, Staal and Evgeni Malkin, but if you take Crosby out of the picture, Staal's presence becomes more of a need than a luxury.
If Pittsburgh has to field offers for Staal, it won't have a problem finding suitors, but it can expect to be low-balled during the process.
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