Friday, April 23, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #18 Marc Staal

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. While Jordan Staal was nominated for the Selke Trophy this week, he isn't getting the honour of this treatment but his brother, #18 Marc Staal is.

#18's #s: 82 games, 8 goals, 19 assists, +11, 44 PIM.

Take the good: Literally and figuratively Staalsie didn't take a night off. By far the team's best and most reliable defenseman, he played on the top pairing all season long - first with Dan Girardi, then back with Rozy, then back with Girardi again. Staal had less than 20 minutes of ice time just seven times this season and the Rangers went 2-4-1 over that span. He struggled early with John Tortorella's coaching, seemingly not knowing if/when he should attack or stay back or what but by the middle of the season he found a comfort area and was much improved. And at the end of the year, hell, he had a three game goal streak!

Take the bad: While Staal struggled with the system (or lack thereof depending on who you talk to), he tried to do too much and was too careless with the puck. He improved over the course of the season but it still happened on occasion - like at the start of the Flyer game at the Garden in April. He was by far the best defenseman on the team but, looking at the unit, that isn't saying too much. He does a lot of things right but Staal is still a ways a way from the upper echelon of NHL defenders.

Take them both and then we have: A 23 year old leading the Blueshirt blueline. Staal has yet to reach his potential and still was named to Canada's World Championship team - no small feat considering the depth of talent up there. He will face tough competition over the rest of his career to haul home a Norris (damn that Doughty is good) but if they do ever make a defensive defenseman award down the line, our Staal brother certainly will be in the running.

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