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In Malkin’s absence Jordan Staal has not flourished in a 2nd line center role

The Pittsburgh Penguins were shutout for the 6th time this season, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 Wednesday night on home ice.
The loss was costly as the Penguins failed to jump three points ahead of the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic division and fell to the No. 3 spot in the East as the Buffalo Sabres (43-23-10, 96 pts) defeated the Florida Panthers 6-2 to move a point ahead of the Penguins and into the No. 2 spot.
Offensively the Penguins continue to struggle without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup.
The Penguins fell to 5-9 without Malkin in the lineup this season and have now been shutout in 3 of 14 games.
Jordan Staal who is having his most complete season of his young career, has struggled for the most part as the Penguins second line center.
Staal is entering the first year of a four year deal worth $16 million and has yet to play up to his ability in a second line center role. Staal is at his best when he’s playing a checking line role with 3rd line energy players.
At his current development, Staal struggles at times with his playmaking ability to make plays for others, which is why he has not flourished in replacing Malkin as the Penguins 2nd line center during Malkin’s absence.
Due to Staal’s salary and skill set, there is some thought that Staal should be able to step up and fill the void for Malkin to a higher extent than he currently is.
In 14 games without Malkin in the lineup, Staal has 2 goals and 1 assist along with a plus/minus rating of minus-4.
In the seven games Malkin has missed dating back to March 17th, Staal has 1 goal and 0 assists, playing exclusively as the 2nd line center.
Inside The Numbers: Production from Pens forwards in Malkin’s absence during the 7 games Malkin has missed in March.
1. Sidney Crosby – 7GP – 2 goals – 4 assists
2. Jordan Staal – 7GP – 1 goal – 0 assists
3. Bill Guerin – 7GP – 1 goal – 1 assist
4. Chris Kunitz – 7GP – 3 goals – 1 assist
5. Alexei Ponikarovsky – 7GP – 1 goal – 3 assists
6. Ruslan Fedotenko – 7 GP – 2 goals – 1 assist
7. Pascal Dupuis – 7GP – 1 goal – 1 assist
8. Matt Cooke – 7GP – 2 goals – 0 assists
9. Tyler Kennedy – 7GP – 1 goal – 1 assist
10 Michael Rupp – 7GP – 1 goal – 1 assist
11. Max Talbot – 6GP – 1 goal – 0 assists
12. Craig Adams – 7GP – 0 goals – 2 assists
13. Eric Godard – 1 GP – ————

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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