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Season Review: Jordan Staal

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
When Jordan Staal returned to the lineup on Jan. 1 after missing the first 39 games of the season due to injury, he couldn’t have foreseen just how heavily the Penguins would rely on him so soon after his return.


But with superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin sidelined with injuries, forget about easing back into the speed and strength of the NHL game – the team needed Staal to step up in an expanded role both on and off the ice almost immediately upon his return.

And boy, did he deliver.

Staal proved he could produce under pressure, leading the Penguins in scoring down the stretch run with 11 goals (including four game winners) and 30 points in his last 37 games while handling enormous amounts of ice time. 

The strong two-way center also continued to thrive defensively, playing a prominent role on the NHL’s top-ranked penalty kill – averaging 2:30 shorthanded minutes per game – and being used to shut down the opposing team’s top lines.

Staal also displayed his versatility by seeing the most power-play time of his career to date (3:09 minutes per game, to be exact), using his physically imposing 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame to establish a net-front presence.

Staal – in his fifth full NHL season at just 22 years old – also wore an “A” on his sweater as a team alternate captain for the first time. He truly grew in his role as a leader both on and off the ice, something that pleased head coach Dan Bylsma and the rest of the coaching staff.

“Off the ice and in our room and for our team, (leadership is) something we’ve talked to Jordan a little bit about this summer and in the fall during training camp,” Bylsma said. “He does command a presence in our room and he is a leader. He has an effect on the people around him. And that’s something that he is doing a better job of.”

Bylsma said to count on Staal to continue to be a commanding presence as he matures regardless of who is in the lineup. He’s already accomplished so much at such a young age thanks to a combination of skill, passion and commitment to excellence, and the Penguins are looking forward to what’s in store.



“He’s more aware of the effect he does have on our team and the people he’s playing with,” Bylsma said. “If you watch him closely, he has been doing that. And I expect him to do that even when Sid and Geno come back.”





WATCH: THE BEST OF JORDAN STAAL







SEASON HIGHLIGHTS



2011 PLAYOFFS:
Totaled three points (1+2) in seven games … Three points tied for fourth best on team … Key penalty killer logged 2:35 shorthanded minutes per game – second among forwards … Added 4:31 power-play minutes per game, providing team with a net-front presence … Led all forwards, fifth overall, in total ice time (21:28).

2010-11:
Finished fifth NHL season with 11 goals and 30 points in 42 games … Missed first 39 games of season with a foot infection (12) and broken hand (27) … Made season debut in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field on Jan. 1 … Led the Penguins in scoring down the stretch run with 30 points (11+19) as the team played without superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin … Scored a goal in three consecutive games, Jan. 12-18, to tie a career high goal-scoring streak … Team’s top penalty killing forward logged 2:30 shorthanded minutes per game … Played a career-high 29:04 minutes Feb. 23 vs. San Jose … Had his streak of consecutive games played (302, second-longest streak in team history) snapped when he missed the opening game of the season with a foot injury.





REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART



GP G A P PIM +/- PP SH
42 11 19 30 24 +7 3 0


PLAYOFFS STAT CHART



GP G A P PIM +/- PP SH
7 1 2 3 2 -2 0 0




PHOTO GALLERY: JORDAN STAAL












Photos courtesy of Getty Images

  Click here to view the full photo gallery of Jordan Staal during the 2010-11 season!



Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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