Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/24/06 at 10:04 AM ET
If Staal stays, the Penguins might have to pay him and Malkin major money as restricted free agents in 2009, a year after also doing so with Crosby. They also might have trouble matching qualifying offers to all three and remaining under the salary cap. Previously, the Penguins felt they could spread out the contracts of the first-round picks over at least three seasons. If the Penguins send Staal back to his junior team in Peterborough, Ontario, he can't rejoin them or be sent to the minors until that team's season is over. If they keep him, and his progress levels off, the Penguins will have unnecessarily used up one season of the seven he can play before becoming a free agent and disrupted their own financial timetable.read on
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