Believe it or not, there was a time when 12th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, was the New York Rangers’ first line of defensive until injuries and age took over, and his play started to struggle.
Marc Staal is one of four brothers playing for a professional hockey team. Jordan and Eric both play in the NHL, while Jared is playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League for the Edinburgh Capitals.
Last year Staal had one of his worst seasons and their was no secret about it. Nonetheless, an early first-round exit from the playoffs last season gave him time to heal up and rest from previous playoff runs.
In the last four season, the Rangers have been a team that has played a lot of hockey, and Staal’s involvement was there for most of it. In 2011-12 the Rangers lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Finals. Then in 2012-13, they lost to the Boston Bruins in the Conference Semifinals. Following this, in 2013-14, the year of the Stanley Cup Finals lost and then the 2014-15 Conference Final loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 2016-17 season looked to be a bounce-back season for Staal, as he looked a lot better than last season. Tallying three goals, and three assists, Staal, along with his defensive partner Nick Holden, were helping the Rangers win some close games. Yet, this season, the injury bug came back and bit Staal.
Staal’s first career injury was sustained from a collision with his own flesh and blood, Eric Staal. In February of 2011, Marc was fighting for the puck along the boards with another Hurricane player. Eric came in and threw a clean, but hard shoulder check. Marc slowly got up but finished the game and the season. It wasn’t until the start of the 2011-12 training camp that we learned Staal was suffering from post-concussion symptoms.
His next injury came during a lock-out shortened season. It was probably one of the scariest injuries anyone could suffer. A slap-shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, that got deflected by Jakub Voráček. The puck right Staal in his right eye.
Following the injury, Staal was on the ice in serious pain. Later on, it came out that Staal suffered from a small retinal tear in his right eye and an orbital fracture. He would return to the line-up for one game, a playoff game, where he sported a visor. However, following the game Staal would remove himself from the line-up.
Which bring us to his most recent injury. Following the Rangers 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabers, the Rangers listed Staal as having an upper-body issue. In the game, he blocked two shots, but it is unclear when the injury happened. Staal’s injury went from the upper body issue to a concussion within a week.
Before the game against the Dallas Stars, Staal was on the ice skating. It’s apparent that Staal as been skating since the end of last week and is “coming along,” per Alain Vigneault, as reported by the Daily News.
The Rangers defense has been far from par the last few weeks. They are in desperate need of help in the position. Staal will not be the savior when he comes back, but he sure is better than what they have right now.