by Tony on 11/17/08 at 06:06 PM ET
From SI.com’s Darren Eliot;
Much is written about the Pittsburgh Penguins with good reason. They have electric young talent in current NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin, the face of the league in Sidney Crosby, and an excellent young goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. Oh yeah, and the Pens are the defending Eastern Conference Champions, owned by Hall of Fame icon Mario Lemieux.
In other words, the Penguins don’t lack for story lines. And with an 11-4-2 start despite missing top defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney, young players Kris Letang and rookie Alex Goligoski have received valuable minutes they otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, GM Ray Shero just added veteran blueliner Philippe Boucher to the mix by sending Darryl Sydor to the Dallas Stars.
With all that, the Penguin who intrigues me is Jordan Staal. At 6’ 4” and 220 pounds, Staal is man-sized, yet he’s just 20-years old. Despite his youthfulness, he’s already in his third NHL campaign. Personnel, in part, defines his role, with Malkin and Crosby also being centermen. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Staal plays over 20 minutes a game, just a couple of minutes less than Pittsburgh’s big two and more than Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Boston’s Marc Savard.
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