Rumor: Sabres and Penguins linked in Staal trade talks

Burke and Hextall looking to make a splash?


Don't look now but the NHL's trade deadline is just a month away and perennial Stanley Cup contenders the Pittsburgh Penguins are in a dog fight in the NHL's East Division. Will new GM Ron Hextall and team President Brian Burke make a big splash between now and the deadline to help cement this team's roster?

In his latest column for The Post Gazette, Penguins insider Joe Starkey proposes a perfect target for Hextall, Burke and the Penguins: Buffalo Sabres veteran Eric Staal.

When asked by a reader whether or not the Pens should pursue Staal, Starkey responded:

He’s reasonably priced ($3.5M this season) and could upgrade their bottom six in some way, shape or form. He’s gettin up there, at 36, but had 19 goals last season and plays a good all-around game. I pay zero attention to what anybody’s doing in Buffalo, because it’s such a disaster, so I won’t even acknowledge that he is minus-15 (although I think I just did).
Plus, if you lose one of your top two centers, you’d like to have a guy like Staal to plug in for a bit. No offense to Teddy Blueger, who is playing pretty well, but that wouldn't be an ideal top-six option.
In a perfect world, in your bottom six, you’d have third and fourth lines that look interchangeable. Right now Sully simply doesn’t trust his fourth line, and with the compressed schedule, that’s no way to roll.
Staal would be an excellent addition — Juuso Riikola in return? — and this was an excellent question.

Staal for Riikola? Thoughts, Pens fans?