Marc Staal is an interesting case to analyze. Many are in the belief that his play had significantly decreased in the past year. I’m not completely buying that. For starters, Staal has battled serious injuries in almost every year he’s been a part of the franchise. He has also been extremely consistent with his offensive production the past several years. This past year he netted 2 goals and had 13 assists, pretty much on par with the prior year of 5 goals and 15 assists, and in 2013-2014 he scored 3 goals and had 11 assists. Nothing has changed for Marc offensively. What has changed if his defensive play, although I don’t believe as much as people are making it out to be. I found Staal looked out-of-place this year, often out of position or getting beat to the puck. Whether this has to do with his many concussion or his scary puck to the eye no one can really be too sure. By no means do I think that Staal is a waste of space on the ice, in fact I think he can be an asset if used properly. All we can hope is that Marc Staal can find his game again come October.
What is really upsetting about Marc Staal is his contract. This is where I think most of the hatred towards him stems from. Along with Girardi, he holds a long-term, high value contract that is likely to bog us down for several years to come. Marc Staal is locked into a 5.7 Million dollar contract until the 2021-2022 Season. Do me a favor and read that one more time. I know that makes you cringe, and it should. Again, as discussed in the Girardi article we should direct our anger at management for making Staal into a monster among Ranger fans, not his performance. The bottom line is that if Staal, or for that matter Girardi, were given a 4 million dollar contract for the same term, I doubt many of us would be bitching about it.
I also find it unlikely that Staal will be dealt in any sort of deal. Staal has been with the Rangers his whole career, he dons the “A” on his sweater, and has been part of the core that has brough us much success in the recent past. Many think of him in the likes of Stepan, McDonagh, and Lunqvist; long-term “franchise” type players. Then again, the organization has stated that anyone is fair game, including recently trade rumored Derek Stepan. Draft Day is quickly approaching and many moves are likely to occur. I doubt Staal’s name will be on the table but you never know. Should be an exciting couple of weeks.