Friday, August 29, 2008

28 Profiles in 28 Days....The Gronk

Welcome back to TST's 28 profiles in 28 days. Here's the backstories of players previously profiled:
Kris Beech....The Unwanted One
Matt Cooke...The New Ruu
Sidney Crosby....The Chosen One
Pascal Dupuis….The Iceman
Ruslan Fedotenko….The Battletank
Eric Godard....The Goon
Tyler Kennedy....The Sparkplug
Evgeni Malkin....The Showstopper
Janne Pesonen...The Finnish Wildcard
Miroslav Satan...The Scoring Winger (Who isn't Hossa)

Player Name: Jordan Staal
How Acquired: Drafted 2nd overall in 2006
Position: Center
Age: Turns 20 on September 12th
Contact Situation: Signed thru 2008-09 season, $2,200,000 cap hit ($850,000 base salary as well as up to $1,350,000 in performance bonuses)

Last Season Stats: 82 games played, 12 goals, 16 assists = 28 points...Playoffs 20 gp, 6g, 1a= 7p
Last Season Write-up: Tough season, statisically for the young Staal who put up an unexpected 29 goals as a 19 year old rookie. The Pens used Staal almost exclusively at his natural position, center (opposed to the previous year where he was largely Evgeni Malkin's winger). Staal though battled through, playing in every game and eventually morphing into one of the best 3rd line centers in the game and scored enough timely goals in the playoffs to show his sophomore slump was a derivation from the usual.
Career Year Stats: (2006-07) 81 gp, 29g, 13a =42 points

Player progressing, in prime or regressing: Progressing like no other, and perhaps is the #1 player on this roster that still has expected room to grow.
Potential line-mates: Depends on the plan....If the Pens wanted to, they could make him a power forward winger for Malkin or Sidney Crosby on a scoring line. But it seems they want to keep him as a center and let him develop there, so he's likely to play with lower line wingers not as skilled.
"Best case scenario" stats: 82 games played 30 goals, 35 assists, 65 points...Staal will benefit from likely taking some of Ryan Malone's PP time, so expect that his Kate Moss-thin assist totals (just 29 in 163 games) should have the chance to go up.
Notes: According to unconfirmed reports, Jordan might not be only member of his family to be in the NHL. I wonder if those guys in New York and Carolina who look like him are of any relation...It sure would be helpful if someone in the media could point this out a time or two...
Interesting fact: Staal has appeared in more career NHL games of meaning than all but 6 players that have been drafted since 2004 (Staal, of course, was drafted in 2006). Those six are Crosby, Ovechkin, Olesz, Meszaros, Franzen and Streit and they were all spotted the 2005-06 season.

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