Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Duchene is the Better Fit Than Jordan Staal

DENVER, CO - APRIL 06: Matt Duchene
DENVER, CO - APRIL 06: Matt Duchene /

The Pittsburgh Penguins clearly have a hole in the third line centre position.

With the dismissal of Nick Bonino who signed with the Nashville Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins have lost their coveted third line centre and will be forced to shop around for a replacement.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Two names that have kept coming up in trade conversations are Colorado’s Matt Duchene and Carolina’s Jordan Staal. Both are elite talents, and the city of Pittsburgh is already a familiar place for Staal as he is a former Penguin. But it seems as though when it comes down to it, Duchene is the better fit.


Matt Duchene may not be the superstar centre he once was who used to put 60-70 points a season, but he is still very productive, and can be the best third line centre in the game.

Duchene still consistently puts up 50-60 points a season, with an off-year this season. This season was his lowest scoring full season with 41 points, but hey, he was on the Avalanche. They finished dead last by a mile after all. I’m sure he can be better on the Penguins.

Meanwhile, Staal has only ever reached 50 points once and is a consistent 40 point scorer. They both may be close this season but the younger Duchene may be the better option.

Salary Issues

Both Staal and Duchene currently earn an AAV of $6 million per year. Matt Duchene is 26. Jordan Staal is nearly 29. Staal also is on a longer contract that will take him until the 2022-2023 season. Duchene has 2 years left on his deal. I think you get where I’m going with this.

Why not acquire the cheaper, younger, more versatile player if he’s available? Duchene has the much more attractive term that fits our team better. We do not want to be stuck with a 35 year old Staal when we are in a transitioning time trying to stay a contender.

Trade Bait

I know. Matt Duchene obviously is more valuable than Jordan Staal. Staal is the consolation prize to Duchene and it’s quite clear. But I think if you’re gonna go for it you got to go big.

We are looking to three-peat here. Throw in some picks or prospects. Sweeten the deal. We want to win. Get em done boys. In the long run, I’m sure it would pay off.