Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Interested Jordan Staal?

The offseason can't come enough for Wild fans. The team holds the #7 pick in the entry draft, they are expected to sign Mikael Granlund (The team's #1 prospect) to his entry level contract, and nearly $18 million of cap space so they could pursue notable free agents such as F Zach Parise and/or D Ryan Suter. But Sunday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggested that the Wild are one of four potential canidates to land the Penguins Center.

The article suggests that Staal would be a perfect leader for the team (Taking a shot at its current leader, Mikko Koivu), citing old Penguins connections with Chuck Fletcher (former Pens assistant GM) and Mike Yeo (former Pens assistant coach), so he would be familiar with Yeo's system. It then goes on to list who the Wild could offer in return, saying Cal Clutterbuck, Devin Setoguchi, and the team's #7 overall pick in the entry draft would be tossed around.

After I read this article, I came away with the following thoughts:
  1. There would be a surplus of centers. Should Staal put on the iron range red next fall, the Wild would have Koivu, Staal, Kyle Brodziak, and Matt Cullen all slotted in at center. Meaning, someone (Most likely Cullen) would have to take the demotion to the fourth line, unless they would accept a spot on the wing. And don't forget Granlund is a center, but one would think he will play wing for a year or two before moving into the middle.
  2. The Wild would be unwilling to part with Clutterbuck and the #7 pick. Despite what Josh Yohe (the writer of the article) think, the Wild value both of them quite a bit. Clutterbuck is a perfect player in the Mike Yeo system. He gives it 100% every shift, plays gritty, and can score a goal when is called upon to do so. And the team would be more than likely to draft a defenseman (something they sorely need down in the system) with the #7 pick, so giving that up for another forward would just not work out to Chuck Fletcher's advantage. As for Setoguchi, one could see the Wild be willing to part with him due to all the young forwards coming up in their system. And he is coming off a down year, so perhaps he could use a fresh start on a team featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as the top centers.
  3. Staal would have to sign an extension before being traded here. Staal is under contract with Pittsburgh for just one more year. So giving up a very good package for him would be a waste on just a one year rental. The team would need Staal to sign a contract extension (Probably somewhere around $7 million a season over 4-6 years) before they even think of pulling the trigger. 
  4. Who would be top line center? Mikko Koivu has been the team's #1 center for four years now. He's also been the team's permanent captain for three years. But in those years he has seen his share of wings come and go, and this past season it appears he found a good linemate with him in Dany Heatley. But a big knock on Mikko is he is not considered a top line center. He is more suited for a second line center spot. So should the team get Staal, it should be assumed that Jordan would man the top line center spot. But, it easily could go the other way too.
After taking all this in, I came to this conclusion: The Wild should not go after Jordan Staal simply due to the fact he would cost this team too much. There are plenty of teams interested in him, and even the package listed in the article would simply not be enough compared to what other teams can offer. They should and most likely will stick to going after the free agents with all the cap room they have.

It was a nice thought. But its one of those things you can try out in a video game, not real life.

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