As the Penguins go into a must-win situation Tuesday night, one of the most staggering stats during the teams playoff run is that 2006 2nd overall pick Jordan Staal has a team leading plus/minus rating of -7.
Staal who plays the role of shutting down the oppositions top line, has two goals in 19 playoff games and is a -4 in his last four games.
Supporters of Jordan Staal often say that you can’t blame him for his lack of offensive production because he is playing with role players Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy who are not regarded as top 6 forwards.
That argument has some merit but what doesn’t have any merit, is playing the role of a shutdown centerman and leading the team with a plus minus rating of -7 and being under 30% on face-offs.
Staal was 6-for-19 (31.6%) on face-offs in game 1 and 3-for-15 on face-offs (20%) in game 2. The numbers don’t lie, Staal is not a shutdown centerman.
It is one of the biggest myth’s that has followed Staal the past two seasons.
Staal at age 20 has not reached his potential but because of the presence of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, it is often forgotten that Staal was a former 2nd overall pick.
In year 3, expectations for Staal should be higher and he needs to start meeting those expectations, sooner rather than later, if the Penguins want to have a chance to do what many think is impossible, and that’s winning four of five games from the Detroit Red Wings.
We’re not talking about the role of putting the puck in the net consistently. We’re talking about the role of playing a third line role effectively and scoring a timely goal which is what the Red Wings are getting from their 3rd and 4th line wingers.
By the way none of them are former 2nd overall picks.
Stat of the Day
Linemates Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy are a combined -13 in eight career Stanley Cup Games. Source: Tribune-Review