It appears that Jordan Staal's days in Pittsburgh may be coming to a close and there has been a lot of speculation as to who would be likely suitors. Even Russo has reported that the Wild has interest in him so I think that makes it fair game to discuss. Some time ago, JS suggested a trade for him, and I dumped all over that proposal in favor of a Bobby Ryan trade instead. I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong and that the Wild should take a good long look at acquiring Staal.
Staal is still a young player and already has a Cup on his resume. He can probably stay in Pittsburgh and win another Cup someday but it will be playing second fiddle to Crosby and Malkin and forever being their third line center so I can see him turning down a new contract from the Pens. Now I think there will be plenty of suitors for Staal and Pittsburgh will likely turn this into a bidding war. Obviously Carolina and probably Toronto are likely destinations, but as Russo has stated, I think Minnesota could be added to that list as well. Adding Staal to Koivu and Brodziak would solidify our centers for years to come and allow plays like Granlund and Coyle to start their careers on the wing and learn the game before a possible transition to center later in their careers. The Wild probably doesn't have much to offer the Pens in a trade but I will make a vain attempt to speculate what they could offer anyway.
I think a trade for Staal starts with either Setoguchi or Clutterbuck. Pittsburgh has long looked for capable wingers to play with Malkin and Crosby. I think they have solved Malkin's line but Crosby needs an upgrade on his line over Dupuis. Setoguchi would easily touch thirty goals playing on a line with Crosby much like he did when he played with Thornton. I believe Clutterbuck's offense would increase as well as he showed in juniors that he can put up numbers when playing with superior talent (Tavares). Clutterbuck would also add some toughness to their forward corps that was exposed for a lack there of in the series with Philly. I think the Pens would opt for Seto but I would hope they would want Clutter since the Wild losing Seto would just create another hole in our top six.
Next, I would include Cullen in the trade. He would give the Pens a solid third line center for at least one year and maybe beyond. He has a limited NTC but I think any player would waive that to play with Malkin and Crosby and another shot at the Cup. Cullen would also give the Wild cap relief to fit Staal and still have enough room to make other moves as well.
I would toss in Zucker to this deal as well. I have read some articles the last few weeks about how Pittsburgh has had a tough time developing forward prospects. I believe Staal is one of the only forwards to make it to the NHL since Shero has been in charge there (I could be wrong, but I think the article I read about this was in Puck Daddy's "Puck Headlines" blog earlier this week). Anyway, Zucker gives them a prospect who is pretty close to being ready for the NHL now or with a little more development, may find more of an offensive game.
Finally, I would offer Zach Phillips or our first rounder in 2013. This is the risky part of the trade as our 2013 first rounder may be a lottery pick. However, with the addition of Staal and perhaps another two people in free agency, the idea is that our pick in 2013 would hopefully be later in the draft. So essentially, the idea is either a late first round pick in 2013 or Zach Phillips who was a late first round pick in 2012.
So to sum it all up, I'm offering Setoguchi or Clutterbuck along with Cullen and Zucker together with either Zach Phillips or our first round pick in 2013 for Jordan Staal (provided he signs here long-term).
Is this too much or too little? Have I gone completely crazy? What says the Wilderness?
I am not in favor of trading for Jordan Staal unless he somehow agrees to an extension with the Wild AHEAD of time.