Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Jordan Staal and Zbynek Michalek

By Stephanie Lewark

If we would’ve taken the word of Pittsburgh Penguins general manager, Ray Shero, the unexpected announcement that came within the first hour of the 2012 NHL draft at the CONSOL Energy Center would not have come to pass.

But, it did and in exchange for the Carolina Hurricane‘s first round draft pick (at eighth), centerman Brandon Sutter, and defenseman prospect Brian Dumoulin, Pittsburgh traded their elite third-line centerman, Jordan Staal.  With the eighth pick, the Penguins chose defenseman, Derrick Pouliot.

Off-season rumors have been rampant that Staal was interested in playing with his older brother and Hurricanes captain, Eric Staal, but there wasn’t much stock to put in such rumors until now.  This move has all, but confirmed them.

To add more fuel to the fire, earlier today, it was reported that the younger Staal turned down an extension that Pittsburgh offered him for 10 more years.  If this is true then I would say that he definitely didn’t want to play for Pittsburgh’s third line getting limited playing minutes any longer.  But can anyone blame him?  Staal is an elite centerman deserving of top-line minutes.

But one has to wonder in his need to come out from behind the shadow of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin if he won’t be thrown into the shadow of his older brother, Eric, and only time will tell.

And in another  unforeseen move, Shero traded blueliner Zbynek Michalek back to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Harrison Ruopp, Marc Cheverie and a 2012 third-round draft pick.  This move frees up alot of space under the salary cap in order to obtain more quality players and reshape the Penguins into more of a Stanley Cup contender for the upcoming season.

Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.

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