What's going on with Jordan Staal?

This year’s 2nd overall draft pick has impressed enough at training camp and preseason games to merit a trip to West Point, N.Y., for three days of team-building. Staal becomes one of 29 remaining Penguins players vying for a spot. Now with the injury to Malkin, Staal may have a chance to fill in for 9 games and still be allowed to return to juniors without having a year count against his entry-level contract.




http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06267/724752-61.stmMalkin’s absence leaves a hole in the middle of the No. 2 line and Jordan Staal, the Penguins’ first-round choice in the June entry draft, remains a candidate to fill it.

The Penguins have remained noncommittal about their plans for Staal, who can play up to nine games in the NHL before 2006-07 would count as his rookie season, for purposes of taking a year off his entry-level contract and his eventual eligibility for free agency.

While Malkin’s injury has given Staal an opportunity to play between a couple of top-six forwards, Shero insists that his short-term future is not tied to Malkin’s recovery.

“I don’t think it affects Staal at all,” he said. “There will be a further evaluation for him, as we move along. We have the bigger picture in mind. … We’re not going to plug Jordan Staal into the lineup just to have a body.”

Shero may say that, but if they could use him for 9 games and then return him to juniors, especially in Malkin’s absense, why the heck would he not do that?

The Penguins announced eight cuts Sunday night– forwards Tyler Kennedy, Erik Christensen, Jonathan Filewich, Connor James and Stephen Dixon and defensemen Micki DuPont, Matt Carkner and Alain Nasreddine were sent to Wilkes Barre/Scranton. With the cuts, the Penguins’ training camp roster is now at 29. Before the cut, Ray Shero said his list of players on the bubble include forwards Jordan Staal, Ryan Stone, Daniel Carcillo, Libor Pivko and Maxime Talbot and defensemen Micki DuPont and Noah Welch.

So this is who’s left:

Forwards (17)





Pivko-Staal-Petrovicky (inj)


Defense (9)





Letang [this kid is supposed to be perfect for the new NHL]

Goalies (3)




This solves the Erik Christensen question, as well as the DuPont one, whom I thought was NHL ready. I still doubt Letang makes the roster, and figure Welch still will. Neither Skolney nor Carkner, two of only three right-handed defensemen, made the cut, which didn’t surprise though.

Talbot is the wiser move over Staal for third/fourth line duties (depending where Moore is placed).

Sabourin will return to the AHL and post record numbers.

42 Responses to What's going on with Jordan Staal?

  1. OldGoalie says:

    I personally think Letang has a very good chance of making the Pens…he’s right handed, highly skilled, a very good skater, and apparently has not shown himself to be a defensive liability. I personally would rather have a guy like that in my lineup than Scuderi, Melichar or Cairns…all of whom have limited skills, average speed (at best), and have shown themselves to be defensive liabilities.

    As for Staal…just watch him play. He absolutely is one of the top 12 forwards on the roster. The only question with him is whether he will develop better with another year of junior hockey under his belt…and the answer to that depends almost exclusively on whether you think he’s one of the top 6 forwards on the team right now, even if he moves to the wing.

    He’s not in Crosby or Malkin’s league just yet (but then, not a lot of people are)…and Recchi I have to assume will be on one of the top two lines. The candidates for the remaining 3 spots on the top two lines are Malone, Armstrong and Ekman. If you regard Staal as better than one of those three (and I personally think he’s better than at least two of them right now, but only Shero’s opinion really matters), then he should stay with the Pens for the season.

    For the short term, I think Staal is almost a mortal lock to make the team, barring either (1) a miraculously short recovery for Malkin that allows him to dress on October 5, or (2) a complete meltdown by Staal in the coming week. With Malkin injured, Staal is absolutely the second most skilled center on the team.

    Of course, if you think “well, he’s certainly a top 12 guy for the Pens, but he’s only a top 6 guy while Malkin is injured because of their depth at center,” there’s another option (as you noted in your post). Staal can play 9 games with the Pens and still be returned to his junior team. The Pens play their 9th game of the season on October 28, and their 10th on November 1. That’s 6 weeks to the day after Malkin injured his shoulder…which in theory should allow him enough time to return even under some of the most conservative estimates for his recovery time. So if this is your thought process, you use Staal as basically a rental for 6 weeks…then return him to junior and delay the the need to negotiate his first non-rookie contract for a year (which might be appealing to the Pens, what with Malkin’s rookie deal expiring at the same time as Staal’s if they both start this year).

  2. Williams1505 says:

    Well i think that…using him for the 9 games would be good for him…to kind of get just a tab bit more to experience of what the NHL is going to be like….But I have had the privlage to go down and watch some of the penguins camps and games….But as for jordan staal…my honest opinion is that….hes just not quite ready to make it to the Nhl….I say give him one more year….it just seems that…hes not ready for it…..He seems kind of lazy…..didn’t skate hard…..I mean people mabye seeing the good jordan staal that everyone has been talking about……but i havent yet…….

    Also….With the goalies….I believe Fleury and Thibault is going to share ice time like they did last year….Fleury just does not have(never seem to have) any confidence, doesn’t feel comfortable in net….being that he’s been playing behind a not so great defense…..But Thibault has actually…lookeed somewhat better….when he did last year, he was just absoultly terrible…..

    Defensive side i’m really liking how gonchar has been playing really impressed that…he has been talking more shots. I heard that last year gonchar wasn’t doing so well because one they had a bad start and it was his first year as a penguin….now he seems more comfortable staking with the puck along the blue on the powerplay and just rifling shot from the point…he has like what 5 goals in 3 games? So ive been impressed that hes been playing well and when he gets in the zone he’ll be scary….my opinion!

  3. BruMagnus says:

    Ya I’ve heard from a few people that Staal needs to work on his skating before he can succesfully make the NHL jump.

    As for Thibault, I sure as hell hope he’s improved.

  4. John_Connor says:

    If Malkin and Staal both start this year, they’d both hit unrestricted free agency in the same year down the road, right? At the very least their 3-year entry-level deals wound end and both would be up for hefty raises at the same time.

    I don’t think the Pens would want that. They know they’re not real contenders yet, so there’s no point rushing Staal in. Crosby and Malkin are more than enough buzz to sell tickets, so while they might sample Staal for 9 games and send him back to junior, I don’t see anything beyond that for this season. Send him back to junior where he can work in a leadership role, participate in the WJC for a taste of playing under pressure in meaningful games (experience he won’t get in Pittsburgh this year), and come up next year as a more complete player.

  5. thinice987 says:

    T-Blow is useless and washed up. He was the worst goalie that I have EVER seen last year. Having watched hockey for 20+ years, I can’t believe the Penguins are not going to waive him again and then send him to the minors. He sucks. Maybe they should just let him go.


  6. fleury says:

    what a waste of 1.5 million

  7. thinice987 says:

    T-Blow should pay the Penguins for a jersey with his name on it, because he sure doesn’t deserve one.

  8. tancred says:

    ESPN.com has the Penguins listed as claiming center Karl Stewart off of waivers from the Ducks today. Don’t know much of anything about Stewart, but could the Penguins picking up another center have something to do on Staal staying or being sent down?

  9. kamullia says:

    Letang will be signed by the Pens, but I would be in shock if he was carried in the 23 man roster. There is simply too many 1-way contract defensemen on the roster, plus Welch and Whitney. Look for Letang to be in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and drive back and forth between Eastern and Western Pennsylvania throughout the year, unless there is a couple of season-ending injuries on defense.

    Stall won’t make the team, but no harm in using him as a rental as you point out. He still has many areas to improve on, especially his skating, and another season in Junior will not hurt him, plus almost certain chance of playing in the World Juniors. Mainly it would be a waste of one of the 3 years from his entry-level contract, and he would be a restricted free-agent and UFA at the same time with Malkin. No GM in the right mind would want to do that when they can easily space out the contract times, and being that Staal is not going to make a make or brake difference for a Stanley Cup, there is no point to sign him just yet. At best he is a rental player for 9 games this year, but do not be surprised if he is sent back to junior even before that because of so many other players (3rd, 4th liners, and defensemen) who apparently management wants to carry for the season.

  10. kamullia says:

    Good right up and I agree with all your main points. You and I have basically seen the same things on the ice so far.

  11. kamullia says:

    Well put and you are correct. Staal won’t be signed this year. He also needs to work on his skating.

  12. kamullia says:

    I thought he was a winger?! Regardless, for what I know of him, he is just an AHLer. Skates hard, good forechecker, is fast, but he is just not NHL caliber.

    This is just a pickup for WBS.

  13. kamullia says:

    The good news: Thibault was horrible and had no room to get worse, and sure enough he has looked much better in the preseason and camp. Good enough to be a middle of the road backup.

    The bad news: Fleury has not looked much better than Thibault so far this year. In fact, arguably, Dani Sabourin is competing for a spot with those two, and that should not be.

    In the game against Buffalo in Hamilton, Sabourin made 44 saves in a 3-2 marathon shootout (11 rounds) loss. If we go by merit, we could argue Sabourin should get the job before the other two, if we go by preseason efforts. No chance of that, of course, but the point is that Fleury has taken a step down from last season and now Pittsburgh does not have a clear by merit, goaltender. Fleury will get the job, but not because of merit.

  14. cups_n_burgh says:

    Jordan didn’t impress me that much. He is big and athletic but only on the Pens would he even be considered for the 2nd line gig. Its a ridiculous idea. Moore has looked fast and skilled out there. Move him up to 2nd spot Talbot can do the third line and Jordan can anchor the 4th until Malkin’s return. Its probably as good a place as any for him to learn the ropes.

    As for all this Letang hype. He’s fast and has a good shot, and I love the thought of him on the PP, but ask yourself can really imagine Bertuzzi posting up on him?! No way is this little dude going to able to hang with the biggest and meanest centers out there. If he’s so talented for a little guy why can’t he play as a scoring wing? That’s where the pens could use some speed and shot accuracy. I heard he moved to the D because he was told/believes he couldn’t make it in the NHL as a wing. If your short and skinny and can’t hang in the NHL as a wing forget about Defense already!

  15. CaptainInsano says:

    I think it’s pretty clear that the most useful “Staal” for the Pens this year will be the bathroom stall.

    Without Jordan Staal, the team would lose some pizazz, but they’d survive without him and he’d get more time to develop in junior.

    But without a bathroom stall, I can see bold guys like Cairns and Roy just letting one drop on the locker-room floor, and more bashful players like Gonchar and Malkin taking leaks in the corner on Fleury’s equipment.

    The team morale would be at an all-time low.

  16. goleafsgo1991 says:

    Petrovicky will get more playing time then Roy; he’s a grinder but atleast he can put up 20 or so points…he did pretty good when he played with Kovalchuk. Melichar will make it over Scuderi. If Recchi, Armstrong, Ekman, or Malone don’t play up to snuff I wouldn’t be surprised if Ouellet is quickly switched into a top-6 winger role considering he faired fairly well himself last year, mind you still not as good as Armstrong.

  17. BruMagnus says:

    What do you base this on?

    Petrovicky is injured.

    The first two lines are set.



    Only an injury or some REAL pisspoor play will change that.

    Most Pens fans like Scuderi over Melichar.

    Ouellet has been nonexistant at training camp and preseason. Last year means nothing, as I don’t even think he’ll be making the team this year. Erik Christensen was already sent down to the AHL, Ouellet, Stone and Carcillo are probably next,a long with Welch or Letang.

  18. avsrule24 says:

    whats the exact rule regarding sending players down after 9 games or whatever?

  19. PittFan017 says:

    Its either juniors or NHL for Letang he can’t be sent to the AHL

  20. kamullia says:

    You are totally correct! I completely forgot about his age. When I read your post I even remembered Shero mentioning that he was now pressed to make a decision on him because of the CHL agreement. Thank you for pointing that out.

    My apologies to everyone who read the other post.

    I guess I still see Letang going back to the Q then, and being signed at the end of the year. I have not seen extensive play on him, but for what I have been told he still needs more work in the defensive side. This was my thought when I had him in the AHL in my mind, where he could work on defense and get periodic calls in the NHL. All in all I would not be surprised if they signed him for Pittsburgh, but if that happens I would think then that one of the other D will go on waivers.  They have 8 defensemen as is, with 6 on one-way contracts (plus Welch and Whitney), and Letang would be a 9th defenseman.  I guess they could do this, but I just do not see them carrying 9 D on the 23-man roster, and hence I would think one would be put on waivers.  Especially considering that Letang riding the pine horse will not do much for further developing him defensively, I am not sure they would want him in that fashion.

  21. kamullia says:

    That is not a short answer. By “exact rule” you would have to look at the exact wording of the rule, and as it turns out it is not one specific rule, but a combination of them.

    You would have to read all of the Article 9 and 8.6-8.10 to view all that applies, plus the 1995 agreement between the NHL and CHL. You also have to understand legalese and realize that it takes 4 thick paragraphs of legalese to say “May I borrow the salt shaker?,” and that is not a joke, but an honest estimate.

    Foregoing all of the above, in a nutshell, players who are still playing in Major Junior and have not reached a certain age (I believe it is 20, as per the “20” definition in the CBA, and that is not a joke, it is defined) can be used in a loan basis from Juniors to the NHL for less than 10 games. If the player is used for 10 games or more, he must be signed to an NHL contract and the appropriate compensation given to the CHL.

  22. oliasphodel says:

    Welch will make the team. Over Scuderi.

    Go here and see pens fans don't like Scuderi over Melichar


    One of them will have to be traded this year, or waived.

  23. AHLoldie says:

    I saw Stahl in camp, and in the game with Washington, and he played very cautiously.  I saw him play twice last year in Peterborough and he skated dominantly around the rink hitting everything in sight.  I think its more confidence than anything else. He's now skating with guys his own size.  Until he gets use to his surroundings, he'll be a little timid.  I think he has to grow into the job.  Another thing that hasn't helped him is the bad ice at the arena and at both of the arenas in Canada where the Pens played.  Staal looks very lanky ands bad ice makes him look much worse.  He takes very long and slow strides.  Even Malkin didn't look too good skating around on the Moncton ice.  This probably contributed to LeClair losing his footing on the pass where Malkin was injured.  All this being said, I don't think Staal will be kept on the roster because he wouldn't be used enough to warrant the move.

  24. CrosbyMalkin66 says:

    Id have to agree,  I believe that if Fluery does not pan out… then the pens will be ok becuase they have the best goalie in the AHL in Dany Sabourin waiting incase he fails.  I believe Fluery will be an elite goalie one day,  but hey im not real worried when theres a guy like Sabourin in your organization

  25. OldGoalie says:

    My thoughts on Letang are a little different…you appear to assume that he actually has a reason to want to be a Penguin.  He may…but I don't know that it's something we should bank on.

    I see him having no incentive to want to sign with the Pens if they send him back to junior.  Since he'll be older than almost all of his competition in the QMJHL, you would expect that his production would almost certainly go up.  If he were to reenter the draft after that, you have to assume he'd go higher than the Pens picked him, and to a team that sees itself as having a need that he might fill sooner, rather than later.  He also could very well find himself going to at team that doesn't have a Welch…a Lannon…a Gonchar…a Whitney…maybe a Goligoski…an Orpik…and so on with whom to contend.  The Pens have a fairly large number of young and/or offensive defensemen…which you would think would increase his chances of going to Wilkes Barre if he elected to sign here.

    If I'm Letang…if I'm not in the NHL with the Pens this year, I probably think to myself "hmmm…higher draft position (which means potentially better money)…potentially less competition for an NHL spot…going to a team that actually wants me…what's the downside?"  I probably tell the Pens to go jump in a lake and then I reenter the draft.

    Of course, my own feeling is that Shero should take Melichar and Cairns out into the middle of the woods somewhere and leave them…or anything else he has to do to be rid of them…and use those two spots for someone who actually has something resembling potential.  As far as I'm concerned, they're just like the younger defensemen…but without any of the baggage that goes along with having talent. 

  26. OldGoalie says:

    Success against watered down preseason rosters doesn't mean much of anything to me.  Jim Carey was a great minor league goaltender.  Over the last three seasons, Wade Flaherty is 66-39-10 with a GAA around 2.3 and about a .920 save percentage in the AHL.  Neither one turned out to be exactly the second coming of Ken Dryden in the NHL, though,

    In Sabourin, you're looking at a guy who's coming off what is his career year to date.  That having been said, he's been a pro basically since 2000.  In 6 years, he's played 5 games in the NHL, while playing 135 in the AHL and 83 in the ECHL.  He's played for 7 different teams in the ECHL and AHL, and two different NHL teams (his career NHL GAA, by the way, is 4.44, with an .825 save percentage).  He's played a total of 30 playoff games in his career at any level…13 of which came with Sherbrooke of the QMJHL in a single season (1998-99).  If he was that good, I would think someone would have recognized it by now.

    Don't get me wrong…I am glad he's in the Pens' system…but only insofar as he makes Wilkes Barre a better team.  If he is ever more than an incidental backup in the NHL due to injury or some other emergency, something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the Pens goaltending.

  27. OldGoalie says:

    And some of us think Scuderi and Melichar are equally useless…although Scuderi may still develop a little more.

  28. kamullia says:

    To leave two uncapable defensemen out in the woods is simply put, inhumane. Defenseless (I had to use the pun knowing it fits so well) critters like them need the benevolence of a shot through the head. Although Cairns may be able to fetch his own food by beating it to death…

    If Letang is set on not playing for the Penguins, there is nothing anyone can do, whether now or after returning him to Junior. If he is set on money, he simply will refuse to sign and enter the draft. If he signs now, or he signs at the end of the season with the Pens, it will make little difference money wise, because it is all spelled out in the CBA how much he can make. I did read in the media that Letang does not consider himself as able to be NHL capable at this time. By his own admission, and I give him credit because it is exactly what the reports I have read said about him, he needs to improve in his own end, and by that I did get the sense he would be fine to go one last year in Junior. He might also want another shot at the WJC, for example. Shero should probably have a talk with Letang and ask him how he would feel to go back, but I see little changing in the situation if he is sent back to Junior and is signed after the end of the season.

    I understand your view, but I feel that by now Letang has probably made up his mind what he wants to do and he will just follow up on it. He either wants to play for the Penguins or not, regardless of when and I do not think sending him to Junior one more year will change his mind.

  29. kamullia says:

    You have seen him more than I have, and especially I have seen him in mostly short clips, but that was my impression, that he needed to improve his skating. It has also been the impression of the vast majority of reports I have read on the kid, and even himself has mentioned his skating needs improvement for the NHL.

    I am sure confidence has something to do with it, but I also doubt that the vast majority of people who have seen him could all be wrong about his skating. The kid looks not just slow for the NHL, but for his own age for the little I have seen.

  30. kamullia says:

    I agree that Sabourin is not the answer for Pittsburgh in the long run, unless he can be consistent with his performances since last year. There is still time to wait and see on him.

    However my point was not that Sabourin is the best and future goaltender of Pittsburgh, which I think was the miscomunication of my post. But the fact that Thibault and Fleury have not looked better than Sabourin, as they should have. And here I am comparing their performances against watered down preseason teams this month, not what they did last year. As much as you can compare watered down teams, because each is different, but Sabourin has had strong outings, whereas Fleury has had mediocre ones (for his capabilities) and Thibault has shown improvement from last year, but not up to be a #1 goalie.

    The point being that all performances weighed in comparison in preseason have been quite comparable, and if anything, Sabourin has had the best outings, and it should not be that way. The Penguins need Fleury to step up this year and by next year be the clear #1 goalie for the Pens. In the meantime, I do not have an issue with him and Thibault sharing duties, so long as Fleury shows improvement in the process, and by next camp he is the clear #1. But having Dany Sabourin showing as the best goaltender that Pittsburgh has, is unacceptable from both Thibault and Fleury. Even if it is preseason.

  31. OldGoalie says:

    Basically, yes. I didn't mean to suggest that Shero has an opportunity to influence the kid to stay here or not…just that Letang may perceive reentering the draft to be in his own best interest if he that opportunity is available to him.

    As for Cairns and Melichar…I am absolutely not interested in being humane.  Particularly with regard to Melichar…him making us suffer through his play for years has GOT to qualify as cruel and unusual punishment…so I'm fine with a little bit of payback.

  32. OldGoalie says:

    I absolutely agree with all of that. I was actually writing in answer to the post that in essence said "even if Fleury falters, I think it'll be OK because we have Sabourin waiting in the wings." Um…no. If Sabourin is the answer, the question had better be "who might get to start for the Pens if Fleury and Thibault are simultaneously in the hospital?"

    Heck…if the issue came up today, I'd raid the waiver wire and pick Burke up before I gave Sabourin the keys to an NHL team.

  33. BruMagnus says:

    Where do you read these reports?

  34. BruMagnus says:

    take it up with kamullia and her pro-Scuderi proclamations

  35. kamullia says:

    Some times on the computer, or in my office. Other times in the kitchen while having a bite, or on the sofa when television is simply too boring. Although I have to admit, I have read a few while sitting in the can. It comes in handy at times. For example, last year I was extremely constipated and a pre-season report on Lasse Pirjeta took care of all my problems…

  36. Williams1505 says:

    True, But one thing that i'm going to have to say is that….if malone does not have a break out year. He will be traded. That or he should be traded. Esp if playing with malkin and recchi!

  37. Williams1505 says:

    I can't stand melichar, Ever since he started playing with the penguins, ONE doesn't score, Can't play defense, and Takes TOO many penalties!

  38. kamullia says:

    If indeed you do know for a fact what the majority of the entire populous who follows the Pittsburgh Penguins likes best between Melichar and Scuderi, the specific link to the Penguins’ bulletin board that you provided is certainly not the source to prove your point.

    The link is not specifically about Melichar or Scuderi, and in fact they talk mostly about Whitney and Letang. On top of that, out of 52 posts on the thread you provide, only 6 give an opinion in either direction, with the field evenly divided between the two.

    And to make matters worse there is absolutely no thread in the Pens Talk going all the way back to February 12th, 2005 (I got tired of looking after 53 pages worth of beginning threads) that is dedicated to praising Josef Melichar’s play. In fact, the only thread I found on Melichar was about him getting the “A” and the majority of the posts were surprised because of his sub-par play. However, there is an actual entire thread that is dedicated to commenting specifically on Scuderi’s play, and the vast majority of the thread is positive.


    My point is not that the majority of Pens fans like one better than the other (I am not presumptuous enough to think I know such), but that your “evidence” site does not make a case for your opinion that Melichar is liked more, and if anything it makes a case for the total opposite.

  39. kamullia says:

    BruMagnus, no one here but you has made the comment that the majority of the Penguins fans like one over the other: “Most Pens fans like Scuderi over Melichar.” You are the one who came up with that statistical fact all on your own, although I am quite skeptical of your polling methods. In fact, I will start with one simple question that is basic in determining if an amount is a majority or not, so that you can prove your statement: What is the total number of Pittsburgh Penguins fans worldwide? You can round it off to the next 10,000 so not to hold you to exact numbers.

    Regardless, if in fact you do believe that the majority of the fans do like Scuderi better, then stick by your comment. It is quite childish to pass it off, although I am not certain of your age, and it might just be a reflection of your physical age and not your maturity. Do not try and push off your own personal comment on someone else, and do not make such broad based observations without some solid evidence for God’s sakes. Last I checked, by myself I do not make the majority of Penguins fans.

    Yes, I do happen to like Scuderi’s play better than Josef Melichar’s, but that is my opinion, one that happens to be shared by many others but I have not in the slightest clue if that makes a majority of Penguins followers or not. But I have the firmness of character to stand by it, even if I respect if others differ. And in the end, I can care less if I am in the majority or in the minority to this feeling. It is good enough that I am making an honest, educated, and measured intelligent comparison between the two to leave me at rest. And if you or others agree or do not agree with it, I am happy for you either way.

    Just lastly, a correction, I happen to be male. And I did not take offense to the mistake.

  40. BruMagnus says:

    relax and start posting more things of value, and shorter too.
    one doesn't need to go into an essay to get their point across.

  41. kamullia says:

    Frankly, the value comment would be worth something if it came from someone who actually does post mostly things of value. And this is not the case here.

    As far as length, you are correct. But I rather be thorough and explain in detail to leave little to interpretation, than go back and forth 200 short posts with some teenager and wasting more time explaining what I could have done with one long post.

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