It was reported on ESPN 1000 in Chicago that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks are discussing a trade that would send forward Martin Havlat to Pittsburgh for center Jordan Staal.
There had been discussions last week that the Blackhawks were trying to get an extension done with Havlat but there has not been any news of progress in those talks.
This trade is interesting in that it might solve problems that both teams have in their top six forwards. The Blackhawks are not content with their current center situation that has Kris Versteeg, normally a wing, playing the second line center position and having no center (besides Jonathan Toews) that is good in the face off dot.
Staal would provide the Blackhawks with that second line center that they desperately need, not from a points perspective, but from a face off and defensive perspective.
Staal is a natural center unlike Versteeg and would be a much needed improvement in the face off circle as he boasts a 47.6 face off percentage, more than four percent more than Versteeg and Bolland.
The Penguins are in need of a top six winger who can play with Sidney Crosby, who has been paired with the likes of Mirosav Satan and Ruslan Fedetenko. I think Martin Havlat would be a perfect fit for Crosby as he is a play-maker with soft hands and a great scoring touch.
Could Martin Havlat be this year's Marian Hossa for the Penguins? No but Havlat is a high-skill player and he could provide a similar spark to the Penguins first line that Hossa provided.