New York Rangers: Five players who could shock us going into training camp

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 20: The New York Rangers celebrate an overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 20, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 20: The New York Rangers celebrate an overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 20, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 16: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers takes the shot in warm-ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 16: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers takes the shot in warm-ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

5. Marc Staal

Somebody who could really shock everyone during training camp is Marc Staal. Yes, yes I know. Hear me out:

Staal is sticking around for at least one more season on Broadway. The 31-year-old alternate captain has been in New York for 11 seasons now and has three years remaining on his contract.

Staal has been declining for quite a few seasons now. The once steady defensive defenseman has appeared slow and listless in recent years, yet still earns top four minutes. However, with a little assistance from David Quinn, Staal could become serviceable again.

Now Staal will not shock everyone in the sense that he will all of the sudden become a top-pairing player again. However, at the start of last year, Staal was fairly serviceable. With the possibility of a buyout a year away, it would be best to make the best of this situation.

So how could Staal shock everyone in training camp? The short answer: David Quinn. Quinn can give Staal sheltered minutes which would help him not be exposed as much.

A few seasons ago, former coach Alain Vigneault did a similar thing with Dan Girardi. In those sheltered minutes, Girardi looked fresh and looked okay in his outings. Now that system was never stuck to, and inevitably Girardi was bought out.

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But, with Quinn sticking to his guns, Staal could become a decent defenseman both in training camp, and during the season.