Kings Show Why Penguins Should Move Staal to Wing

The Los Angeles Kings are a game away from winning the Stanley Cup. They’ve been winning in dominating fashion, most notably because of their intense forecheck along the boards, where they plaster opponents and recover the puck.

One main reason that forecheck works so well?

Left Wing

Dustin Penner 6-4, 249 lbs.  —> 3G 8A

Dwight King 6-3, 234 lbs. ——> 5G 1 A

Right Wing

Dustin Brown 6-0, 209 lbs. —> 7G 10A

These guys have shown what big, physical wingers can do and they’ve done it in the postseason.

Remind you of any CENTERS on the Penguins roster?

Jordan Staal 6-4, 220 lbs.

It’s just a thought experiment, but think about the work that Staal does on the forecheck. He’s a big, physical player anyway, so why not move him to the wing alongside Sidney Crosby? He’ll score even more, get more ice time and he’ll be pleased that he’s no longer a third-line guy. That would give him more incentive to stay with the Penguins, making him easier to sign. And think about how loaded the top-two lines would look:

Neal-Malkin-Kunitz

Staal-Crosby-Dupuis

That’d be fun to watch.

Getting bigger on the wing is something the Penguins should be looking to do anyway.

Look at the Penguins current wingers.

LEFT WINGS
NO. NAME AGE HT WT SHOT BIRTH PLACE BIRTHDATE
24 Matt Cooke 33 5-11 205 L Belleville, Ontario 9/7/78
14 Chris Kunitz 32 6-0 193 L Regina, Saskatchewan 9/26/79
26 Steve Sullivan 37 5-8 161 R Timmins, Ontario 7/6/74
25 Eric Tangradi 23 6-4 221 L Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2/10/89
RIGHT WINGS
NO. NAME AGE HT WT SHOT BIRTH PLACE BIRTHDATE
27 Craig Adams 35 6-0 197 R Seria, Brunei 4/26/77
45 Arron Asham 34 5-11 205 R Portage La Prairie, Manitoba 4/13/78
9 Pascal Dupuis 33 6-1 205 L Laval, Quebec 4/7/79
18 James Neal 24 6-2 208 L Oshawa, Ontario 9/3/87
12 Richard Park 36 5-11 190 R Seoul, South Korea 5/27/76

There isn’t exactly a wealth of size there.

And I know, Dan Bylsma‘s system is based more on speed and mobility. But it couldn’t hurt to have a few bigger guys that can turn the puck over and offer a physical presence on the ice. We already know that Staal skates pretty well for a big man. He fits the mold of the system and he also fits the mold of what the Kings are doing right now.

I’m certainly not the first one to suggest this. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovecevic suggested this move earlier this year.

I’m just saying now that there’s tangible evidence of how the move could work out.

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About Pete Dombrosky
Pete is a graduate of Penn State University and a life-long Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates fan. He covered men's hockey, golf, tennis, swimming and the enterprise beat as a reporter at the Daily Collegian, Penn State's award-winning, independent student-operated paper. He currently serves as the Assistant Managing Editor for Thrillist Media Group (www.thrillist.com).

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