Defenseman- 2nd pair, Power Play, Penalty Kill
Weight- 207 lbs.
Games Played- 72
Avg TOI- 20:31
Penalty Minutes- 24
Blocked shots- 84
Staal has been one the Rangers’ warriors. Even after being plagued by injuries the past couple of seasons, he has remained one of the NHL’s premier defenseman. If it were not for those unfortunate incidences, he may have remained on the top defensive pairing with Dan Girardi. We could have been talking about him, like we have with Ryan McDonagh. Staal has been known mainly as a strong defenseman. His willingness to block shots, taking advantage of his long reach on poke checks, using his body to deliver a body check, and his ability to skate with opponents in his own zone have made him an asset. However, his offensive talents have started making him a better two-way defenseman. From 2009 to 2011, his offensive numbers were at their highest, tallying 27 and 29 points, respectively. This season, his numbers have not been as high. However, he has shown promise of regaining the form he once had before sustaining his injuries.
The one weakness with Staal is that he is injury prone. For a majority of this season, he has remained unhurt. However, with all players, there is a risk when you play this sport. For Staal though, it is more of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He needs to be aware of his environment, in relation to his position on the ice. But with Staal’s ability as a defenseman, he should have no issue with tracking the puck and anticipating plays.
Post Season Prediction:
Staal will need to elevate his game. He wear’s one of the New York Rangers “A’s” as an alternate captain. He is, obviously, looked upon as one of the Rangers’ leaders. He will be depended upon for his puck handling skills and defensive prowess. When the top pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi need a rest, he and Anton Stralman will bear the burden of shutting teams down. Staal will flourish in the playoffs and be one of the Rangers’ best all-around defenseman.