Jordan Staal proved he could be an asset in many roles for the Penguins.
Two years ago, he showed he could put the puck in the net with regularity while primarily skating as a winger on Evgeni Malkin’s line.
Last season, Staal displayed a solid two-way game that put him among the league’s top shutdown centers.
His offensive statistics dropped in that role. But, his contributions on both ends of the rink could not be quantified in numbers as the Penguins captured the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference championships.
“I thought I did a great job in the role I had last year,” Staal said. “At the same time, I still wish I could get more opportunities on the offensive side of the puck. I believe that I am player that can do it; it’s just a matter of getting the opportunity. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it.”
It appears Staal will get that opportunity as he began Penguins training camp skating on the left wing on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora – in the spot vacated by Ryan Malone.
“It seems like I am starting off on that line,” Staal said. “Hopefully, I can fill in his shoes and play even better he did.”
Regardless, Staal is happy to be reunited on a line with Malkin.
“I think every player who plays with him feels natural,” Staal said. “He sees the ice so well and he can find anyone. It’s just a matter of trying to get open and he will find you.”