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Breaking down the Jordan Staal trade

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]954[/ATTACH]The NHL entry draft is consistently full of big splashes. Friday night in Pittsburgh was no different than any other year.

Before the [B]Carolina Hurricanes[/B] arrived at the podium to make their first round selection, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Hurricanes had traded said pick, along with [B]Brian Dumoulin[/B] and [B]Brandon Sutter[/B] to the draft host [B]Pittsburgh Penguins[/B] in exchange for [B]Jordan Staal[/B].

Talk about opening the night with a bang.

I've been listening to some chatter over the weekend about who won this deal and here is what I have come to conclude: there is no true outright winner. Both teams addressed needs that they needed to address. If anyone gets the slight edge, it is the Hurricanes because they acquired the clear-cut best player in the transaction. If you're a Penguins fan, you can't be disappointed with the quantity and quality of return that came back though.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]955[/ATTACH]Did the [I]Carolina Hurricanes[/I] pay a hefty price for [I]Jordan Staal[/I]? Absolutely. Staal had made it very clear that he was not going to return to the Penguins at the conclusion of the remaining year on his contract, so in that lay the possibility that the 'Canes likely could have landed Staal free of charge via free agency. That being said and despite the big price Carolina paid, I still agree with what they did. They targeted an upper-tier player that they desired greatly and they did what it took to bring him into their fold. That should instill a great amount of confidence in Staal who will look to finally blossom into the 60 to 75 point, two-way forward that he is capable of being.

As for the fantasy impact this trade will have on Staal, I imagine it will be a significant one. Gone should be the days of hovering around 50 points for Jordan Staal. Carolina will give him every opportunity to take on a significant role. Speculation has it that brother Eric will move back to the wing in order to give Jordan the No. 1 center spot. The potential in a top line featuring Eric and Jordan Staal screams "breakout." If your fantasy buddies are sleeping, they might look at Jordan's stat sheet and expect another typical 50-point season. If you draft Jordan, you will have your buddies shaking their heads when he hits the 65-point range for the first time in his career.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]956[/ATTACH]As for the [I]Pittsburgh Penguins[/I], they received a fantastic return in exchange for the young Staal including the eighth overall selection, [I]Brian Dumoulin[/I] and [I]Brandon Sutter[/I].

Upon receiving Carolina's 2012 first round selection, the Pens promptly selected swift puck-moving defenseman [B]Derrick Pouliot[/B] of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks. I had the opportunity to see Pouliot play this season when the Winterhawks made a couple trips to my current place of residence in Kamloops, B.C. My best assessment of Pouliot is that he is calm, collected and confident when the puck is on his stick. He owns the fantastic ability to dictate the play by the carrying the puck the length of the ice in order to set up the offense for Portland. For a team with a skilled star like Sven Baertschi, Pouliot made it difficult to decide who to focus on more. While I don't expect to see him jump straight into the Pittsburgh lineup this season, it wouldn't surprise me to see him make that transition next season. Many pundits compare Pouliot to the smooth-skating power play ace already on the Pittsburgh blueline, Kris Letang. In a deep keeper league, Pouliot is certainly worth owning as he will likely be a notable fantasy contributor in the near future.

After three years at Boston College, Brian Dumoulin signed his first NHL contract prior to being dealt from the Hurricanes to Pittsburgh. Dumoulin is a quality offensive prospect who has NHL size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) and is very mobile. He was an impressive plus-27 in his final year of NCAA hockey and capped that with seven goals and 28 points in 44 games. With Zbynek Michalek being shipped west to Phoenix, Dumoulin could have an outside shot at one of the Pens top seven 'D' spots, although he will have stiff competition in other youngsters Simon Despres and Joe Morrow. Again, Dumoulin isn't worth much in your standard annual league. He carries much greater value in a deep keeper league as he could eventually develop into a reliable, two-way blueliner.

Brandon Sutter is the piece that will make the most immediate contribution to the Penguins lineup. He will slot in on the Penguins third line and should admirably fill the vacancy left by Jordan Staal. Will he completely replace Staal? No. But he will certainly make parting with him easier. Sutter was a consistent 30-point scorer in Carolina, with his career high being 21 goals and 40 points in 2009-10. On a much stronger and deeper Penguins squad, there is nothing to say that Sutter can't once again hit that 40-point mark. Heck, he might even eclipse it. At 23 years of age, he is another deep keeper league-worthy asset.

-30-

Assistant Coach Rocca
[URL="https://twitter.com/#!/RoccaFHC"]@RoccaFHC[/URL] & [URL="https://twitter.com/#!/manovrboard"]@manovrboard[/URL]

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