A couple three years ago I was in the minority of those argued that it would be better to move Staal into a Top 6 role and sign a lower cost 3C in free agency (wanted Malhotra that year).
Today, it is accepted by most that Staal needs a Top 6 role and most of the comments on PensBurgh revolve around which marquee center (Crosby, Malkin, Staal) the Penguins should trade OR allow to walk away via free agency at the end of their contract. Neither of those options appeal to me. All three are still part of "the core" and should be re-signed, if possible.
Fortunately, all three ARE signed through next season. So the only issue is how to deploy them...One option I haven't heard much (anything?) about is rolling with the "3 Deep" down the middle AND making each of those lines a legitimate scoring threat:
One each centered by Crosby, Malkin, Staal?
With TOI for the "Big 3" more equally divided
and more PP time for Staal (2 strong units sharing ice time more equally)
Boston rolled 3 scoring lines last year…and won a Cup
Chicago did it the year before…and won a Cup
And the year before, the Penguins had "The Best 3rd Line in Hockey"…and won a Cup
The Penguins have more wingers now: Dupuis, Cooke, Kennedy, Kunitz, Neal, and Sullivan (if he is re-signed).
Why not roll 3 potent lines, give the opposition matchup fits, and keep all 3 of the big boys happy?
They can play together on the PP, after killing penalties, and at the end of periods.
But they can also line up with potent ES lines.