Now entering year 12 as a member of the New York Rangers, can Marc Staal play in a depth role at a quality level?
After 11 seasons and 761 games as a defenseman for the New York Rangers, Marc Staal is creeping his way up the ladder in team history. The defenseman is only 70 games away from moving into seventh place for all times game played. In addition to his track record, there was a period in which Staal was one of the best defenseman in the entire league.
The Rangers originally drafted Staal way back in 2005 draft as the number 12 overall pick. This was the Sidney Crosby draft class, the group of prospects tasked with bringing the league back from a lockout that canceled the entire 2004-2005 season.
It took Staal two seasons in the AHL before he made it to New York, but once he got to the show, there was no looking back. From the very beginning the defenseman was thrown to the wolves and expected to play a lot of minutes right away. It was under Staal’s second head coach, John Tortorella, that the defenseman made the jump.
It was under Tortorella that Staal became a true shutdown defenseman. Being that the Rangers were in the same division as both Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the team needed a player capable of hanging with those forwards.
At this point in his career, it is clear that the miles on Staal’s body have caught up with him. No longer the player he once was, the defenseman has had to justify a terribly large cap hit as his play dipped.