As the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin to wind down, the NHL rumor mill is starting to pick up. We’ve already heard of a couple big names that could be out on the trade market, including the obvious likes of Rick Nash.
Another name sure to be popular once the trade market actually heats up is Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal, who is believed to be available. The Pens may likely be forced to part ways with Staal, as he’s a free agent after the 2012-2013 season and will cost a pretty penny. That could lead Pittsburgh to look to deal him this summer.
There’s no doubt that, if available, Staal will have no shortage of takers. Among those interested could be the Chicago Blackhawks, who we will likely hear about in plenty of rumors, both for free agents and in trades this summer.
The Hawks’ need for a second line center is well known. After Jonathan Toews, there is no legitimate offensive threat in the middle. Dave Bolland is cemented in his defensive role on the third line and Marcus Kruger is essentially Bolland Lite on the fourth line, until he puts on some weight.
While there are some out there that feel Kruger could end up serving as a replacement for Bolland, should the Hawks deal him this summer, I don’t see Bolland sporting a new sweater anytime soon.
With Pittsburgh, Staal is currently stuck in a role mainly playing on the third line, and is believed to want a shot at either a gig on a top line or a second line somewhere. The Blackhawks are just one of a number of teams that are going to have interest in Staal, but aren’t nearly as desperate to acquire him.
There’s no doubting Staal’s skill. He’s one of the best offensive centers in the league, can contribute on both special teams, and has plenty of size. He’d be an asset to whichever club acquires him, assuming he has a new home come next season. But will that club be the Hawks? Doubtful.
Stan Bowman hasn’t exactly shown a penchant for making the big move. He’s been more about selling big contracts and making smaller, more cost effective moves than making the big splash. The Blackhawks would have to sell a ton to land Staal, and rightfully so, and I don’t think it’s something he’s willing to do, as much as it could potentially benefit the Hawks.
The Hawks are much more likely to go after someone on the free agent market who costs less, or a veteran center that they could try and mold into a role on the second line. Since that worked well with Brendan Morrison. It’s very likely that Staal could be on his way out of Pittsburgh, but I don’t see his final destination being Chicago.
It’s not something that’s completely out of the realm of possibility, and would be a fantastic fit. Bowman’s history as general manager simply indicates that it’s unlikely at this point.