Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Penguins envision Jordan Staal as a winger for the 2009-2010 season?

The Latest Buzz
Penguins, Zigomanis have mutual interest: Despite missing most of the season with a shoulder injury, look for the Penguins to sign center Mike Zigomanis to a one year deal following the season in the range of $650k. Zigomanis has a strong interest in returning to the team for the upcoming season.
The Penguins are looking to fill 3rd/4th line holes with players making close to the minimum salary for next season. Zigomanis is weeks ahead of schedule from shoulder surgery and will begin skating soon.
The Penguins have no plans in moving Jordan Staal back to wing for this season but a source close to the team tells me

the team still envisions Staal making the adjustment to wing, quite possibly as early as next season. The organization feels Staal is beginning to show signs that he can succeed at wing in the future.
In the past four to six weeks Staal has been driving to the net with consistency, winning battles in the corners and with his size 6-4, 220 lbs and strength, team officials are still hopeful that he can slowly move into a role of a top 6 winger.
There was talk at mid-season that Staal would gradually see some time at wing under Michel Therrien but after the coaching change that won’t happen for this season.
The importance of Staal developing into a top 6 winger is very important for the Penguins cap situation. Jordan Staal’s salary jumps up to $4 million per season for the 2009-2010 campaign. The following year the cap is expected to be in the $49-$52 million range.
The Penguins need Staal to make the adjustment so he can fill a role on the top two lines because there is going to be minimal cash available to pursue wingers for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal will combine for a cap hit of $21.4 million for next season and beyond.
The organization still believes that if Staal can develop into the winger they think he can, the Penguins would have a Datsyuk, Zetterberg combo with Malkin and Staal.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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