Breaking down the Jordan Staal deal
Posted June 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins that brings Jordan Staal to the Triangle was the biggest news from the first round of the NHL Draft. Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford has been trying to find a player that can help take the burden off team captain Eric Staal, and with a thin free agent pool this July, the team made the move to bring in Eric’s younger brother.
Like every trade, teams have to give up something good to get something good in return. In this case, the Canes gave up alternate captain Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft that the Pens used on another defenseman in Derrick Pouliot.
The near-term analysis is that the Canes get the best player in the deal, a 23-year-old forward with size, speed and skill who is entering his prime. That is something the organization has needed. The Canes also get a player to potentially play alongside Eric Staal. The fact the Jordan is the younger brother of Eric certainly had a factor in the Canes interest and willingness to pay the price to add him to the organization.
Jordan Staal is a complete player. He uses his size and speed to create scoring chances for his teammates, and when he was called upon to play in a scoring role he was able to fill that in Pittsburgh. Defensively, he is as sound as you can get in the NHL and is a top penalty killer. He has 13 shorthanded goals in his career, and was starting to emerge as a decent power play component for the Pens.
The big question – is Jordan Staal a number one center?
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin fill that role in Pittsburgh – Staal was to the Pens what Brandon Sutter was to the Canes. A clue might come from last year, where Staal piled up 50 points in 62 games in the number two hole with Crosby on the shelf for a majority of the season. Jim Rutherford also said that it is up to head coach Kirk Muller on if the Staal brothers play together.
Jordan Staal is set to be an unrestricted free agent next year, and after rejecting a major offer from the Penguins, a trade seemed imminent. So should Canes fans worry that signing Jordan will be a problem? My feeling is that Jim Rutherford would not have given up all of that talent that is under contract if he felt there isn’t a long-term deal that will be reached quickly with the younger Staal.
Rutherford even said that contract talks will get underway in early July. I would imagine the Canes will give Jordan a nice wedding gift with his new deal. If you missed it, Staal was getting married as he was being traded to Carolina.
Pittsburgh gets three players in return, the big piece being Brandon Sutter. People in Carolina know exactly what player the Pens have picked up, and Sutter steps right into a role he can play from day one. Sutter will be asked to do what Jordan Staal did, be a solid two-way player that kills penalties and contributes enough offense to balance the Pittsburgh's lines. Sutter is mature beyond his 23 years, was a good locker room guy and a competitor. The Pens get a player back in this deal that does just about everything for your team that the player you dealt can. Sutter will also get a chance to provide some more offense playing in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh also gets prospect Brian Dumoulin, a big bodied blue-liner that won a national championship at Boston College. Jim Rutherford feels that Dumoulin will be a player in the NHL for years to come. The Pens were looking for player of that type and could give him a shot as soon as this season.
Derrick Pouliot, who was taken with the first round selection, is years away, but a top 10 pick is expected to play in the NHL.
So who gets the better of the deal? That is impossible to say 5 minutes after any trade happens. Carolina gets what Jim Rutherford wanted this summer, muscle and skill up front to play with Eric Staal. They also add a player with post-season experience who is a winner and should fit seamlessly in the locker room.
Pittsburgh in return gets in Sutter the same type player who they just traded, so the pressure is on Jordan to produce for the Canes. The Pens also add two other players to the defense corps that should be NHL players, Dumoulin sooner than Pouliot.
This really is a rare case where both teams acquire what they need. If you look to who wins for this upcoming season, the Canes are the winners. Staal should have a big year playing alongside his brother. That doesn’t mean that the Pens are losers. Three years from now, Pittsburgh can have three players in their line-up that could be key pieces in winning another Stanley Cup.