Navigating a potential long-term injury to Marc Staal

AP Photo/Fred Vuich

With the recent news that Marc Staal is going to be out indefinitely with post concussion symptoms, the Rangers find themselves short one of their top-four defensemen. Whether you agree Staal should have been in the top-four is a bit irrelevant at the moment, since he was in the top-four regardless. This is going to force Alain Vigneault and possibly Jeff Gorton to adjust if this team is going to make a run at a Stanley Cup.

In fact, it has already forced AV to make a major change to his defense, taking Dan Girardi off the top pair for Brady Skjei. Adam Clendening was naturally in the lineup, and was put on his off-side with Kevin Klein. Dan Girardi moved down to play with Nick Holden, who moved back to his natural side on the left. I personally did not watch the game, but from what I’ve heard, Clendo and Skjei both had strong games in their roles.

Since the injury will keep Staal out for at least this weekend’s slate of games, we should expect to see more of the same for the interim. It takes more than one game to earn a lineup spot or new role, so it’ll be on the kids to earn their keep in those roles.

But long-term is where things get tricky. Klein and Girardi are going to take on more of the defensive zone minutes, which isn’t going to lead to any increased success. With Staal’s history, it’s possible –albeit unlikely– that this injury keeps him out for the rest of the year. Does that change Gorton’s approach to the trade deadline? Does he make a big deal for a young stud 1RD now, instead of waiting for the offseason?

It’s no secret that a good number of fans, including myself, want to see a young 1RD added at the right cost. That last bit is the most important, and there are going to be a bunch of teams lining up to offer the Rangers a defenseman for one of their prized forwards.

But if a big splash isn’t in the cards, then this might move Gorton’s timeframe up for a rental a bit. Some cringe at the term “rental” for good reason, but the right rental at the right price can pay dividends. It’s a little early to start predicting who the rentals are, but Cody Franson is someone that keeps getting mentioned to me on Twitter. He’s a clear upgrade to Klein, but it all depends on the cost.

Even before the injury to Staal, the Rangers needed to upgrade the defense desperately. The potential long term impact exacerbates this need, and may force Gorton to show his hand sooner than he had anticipated. Either way, expect a good number of rumors about defensemen to hit the airwaves as trade season approaches.

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45 thoughts on “Navigating a potential long-term injury to Marc Staal

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Agreed Dave, I would LTIR Staal and give Graves a shot. If you think the trade cost was high to get a D man now, just wait to see what teams will do to the Rangers knowing they are in desperate need of D men.

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Maybe we can make another great trade with Nashville we give them Klein back and they send us Suban. I don’t see why they wouldn’t do that. Joking aside, I hope this turns out to be one of those times we get a real good surprise player whether it be throu a trade or someone gets called up and gets his chance to play. It wouldn’t be the first time a player went down and someone stepped in and turned out to be real good player. I’m not saying it’s gonna be another Lou Gehrig stepping in for Wally Pip but maybe we see Clendening get his chance and turn out to be the player some fans have said he could be. I’m just trying to find some optimism here.

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I wouldn’t jump the gun just yet. There is a game tomorrow against the Leafs, let’s see what happens, and wait for the week end to see how long Marc will be out. We won’t play for a while, Marc can rest, and if he can’t play after that little break, well we address the problem then. The defense has been a problem all season long, Gorton has been making plans to address this issue, so let the man do his job……….Time will tell !!!!!!!

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 7:44 am

      I agree Walt.

      To say that the injury “will keep Staal out for at least this weekend’s slate of games” is premature and not at all based on any actual reporting I’ve seen.

      Indeed, Brooks updated his story overnight, He said “Staal, believed to be symptom-free after working out this week at the club’s practice facility, has not gone through the NHL concussion protocol. It is unknown, therefore, whether he did sustain what would be his third recorded brain injury of his NHL career…..”

      While the article does properly say his status is “in doubt” for tomorrow’s game, it also says his status for both today’s practice and the game Friday remain “unclear”. Unclear does not mean he’s out long term, short term or even at all. It is simply unknown.

      So I’d say he “likely” will be out, but that’s just a guess. We will know in a few hours after practice.

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

        What’s the definition of “symptom free” for a concussion? I had several when I played football in my high school years and to this day (40 years later) I still feel “effects” every once in a while including spine related issues that occur as a result of a series of concussions.

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 8:03 am

          Good question. I have absolutely no idea. But the fact that apparently, at the moment, he has no symptoms, was able to skate this past week and did not need to go through protocol, is a positive sign.

          The concerning sign is why last week he felt the way he felt all of a sudden and what that means.

          As I said, we know nothing. We shouldn’t speculate. We will hope for the best here and should learn more in a few hours.

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 8:18 am

            “Good question. I have absolutely no idea.”

            Right bro, no one knows, not even physicians. Because there is no answer, it is case by case, and no one knows what triggers the next concussion. It could be as simple as bumping into someone on the street or bumping into a door or misstepping that jars the body.

            The point is, that whomever is treating Staal and other concussion sufferers are “speculating” as well as they have no idea. Which is dangerous because they go through their “protocol” and deem the patient “healthy” and then send them back out to play and get rammed again, causing even more damage to the body. The spine issue is a real thing and a result of a series of concussions. It has long-term effects.

            • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:40 am

              One thing to consider is not only the remaining of this season for Marc Staal is the rest of his career. Look what happened to Michael Sauer, too many concussions ended a very promising career for Sauer.

              Marc has what, 4 years left on his deal after this one? I hope Staal’s career does not end early.

              • Jan 13, 2017 at 5:33 am

                Could be a lingering issue for sure.

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:27 am

          I can tell you’ve had plenty of them

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    The wildcard race makes every team still think they have a shot. Only teams with clear failures or Cap issues are looking to make deals right now.

    I do think we bring up a Graves to practice with us to get a sense of his worthiness, while still scouting the market.

    Anyone watch the Pitt/Caps game last night? Those teams can skate!

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Those teams are better than we are at the moment. I will be very happy if we end up in 4th place and get to play in the Atlantic. I’d rather take my chances there.

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

        You want to play MTL in the first round? When has Hank EVER played well there? And you want to face the best goalie?

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:39 am

          I direct your attention to the highlights 2014 ECF….there you will have your answer. πŸ˜‰

          As Hank proved that year (in particular in Games 1 and 2 in Montreal), his sub-standard regular season performance in the “Centre Bell” did not carry over into the playoffs, where he raised his game as he usually does.

          As for Price, yes, he’s a beast, but he doesn’t have an exceptionally strong playoff pedigree. I’d take my chances in the Atlantic over the Metro any day..

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 1:22 pm

            If it were still an option, I would be thumbs-upping Eddie.

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

      I watched the whole game. Pittsburgh was dreadful the whole night. If they were wearing blue and this was the forum after the game it would be blasting their effort. They weren’t very good last night. So, let’s spare all of us the dramatics about how both teams are suddenly that much better than the NYR. Yes, the Capitals are playing very well, but Pitt went through the motions last night and took stupid penalties, including a too many man penalty that wasn’t even close. I don’t even know if Sid played last night. MAF wasn’t very good in goal, and their forwards were dreadful on the PK And in Zone coverage. If Dave was making gifs of the third or fourth WSH goal people would be all over the Pens. Plus, Ovi set up shop on the PP unimpeded. Not a good effort from Pitt at all.

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Yeah, the Pens were a definite no-show last night. I wonder if, in their blogosphere, their fans are saying their team was a bunch of gutless no-show chokers (which i seem to recall a select few said about us) or whether they just realized that hey, they had a bad game. It happens.

        I’m not saying “suddenly” the Pens and Caps are better. They’ve been better for some time and will continue to be better for the foreseeable future because they simply have higher end talent than we do. I have absolutely no doubt that if any NHL coach needed to choose ONE team to go to war with in an attempt to win the Cup, every single one would choose the Pens and Caps over the Rangers

        That does not mean, however, that we can’t beat either of them come playoff time. Upsets happen and so does the trade deadline and so do injuries.

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 10:57 am

          “Yeah, the Pens were a definite no-show last night. I wonder if, in their blogosphere, their fans are saying their team was a bunch of gutless no-show chokers (which i seem to recall a select few said about us) or whether they just realized that hey, they had a bad game. It happens.”

          Not for nothing, they’ve had one maybe two. We’ve had 6. And that’s not counting the games where they took 2 of 3 periods off. That’s 6 complete “Wait, we had a game tonight?” Performances

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:47 am

            Here are some Penguins scores from this season for you to peruse….

            Montreal 4 Pens 0
            Nashville 5 Pens 1
            Was 7 Pens 1
            NYR 5 Pens 2
            Minn 6 Pens 2
            CBJ 7 Pens 1
            Was 5 Pens 2

            That’s 7 “no-show” losses.

            The Rangers…..

            Pit 6 NYR 1
            Pit 7 NYR 2
            Min 7 NYR 4
            Buff 4 NYR 1

            By my count, that’s 4. And of those four, two of them (both losses to the Pens) happened at the tail end of a 3 game in 4 night stretch. The Pens have also had two losses due in part to the condensed schedule (the Rangers loss being one), so that means they’ve had five “no show” losses when reasonably rested compared to only two for the Rangers.

            There was an article on another blog that addressed this. We are seeing more of these kind of games from all teams this season because of the condensed schedule. At different points of the season, teams are going to be gassed and its results in a compromised product. Not good for the league IMO.

            There is no indication whatsoever that the Rangers are more of a “no show team” than anyone else. Indeed, I’d say the opposite is true. The real test is not whether you’ve had a clunker, but how you respond once you do. This team has been remarkably resilient in the second game of back to backs. And also have been able to bounce back from their own slow starts.

            No-show gutless teams don’t do that.

            • Jan 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm

              You didn’t count the first game against buffalo, because the score masks the no show performance. You also forgot the 2-0 Ottawa no show.

              I’m not going by the score. We’ve won a few no show games because the team on the other side was worse. I rate no show as listless, no effort, you KNEW they were either going to lose, find a way to lose, or survive on a fluke goal.

              And are you really counting that 5-2 victory by us, really? That’s not a no show performance. They dominated us in the 1st period, and we’re controlling play quite a bit in the third. The shots that period were 9-8 us, but one shot was an empty net goal. A team competing till the end isn’t a no show.

              • Jan 12, 2017 at 4:25 pm

                Obviously, what one calls a “no show” performance is somewhat subjective. Let’s assume you’re right. The mighty SC Champions have just as many. I suspect most teams have more than their share relative to the past due to the condensed schedule.

                My point is, this is not a exclusively a “Rangers” thing.

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

          Yeah but Eddie, be fair. Their fans have last years Cup to lean on. We don’t. When they start feeling antsy, they just pop in the highlite dvd from last season. When we get mad, we have to drag out the old video tapes from the 90’s! (;

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

            Can’t argue with that!

            I still have my VHS of both MSG and ESPN’s live coverage. I watch it all…..commercials, everything. Never gets old!!!!!

            I actually prefer ESPN’s over MSG. I thought Thorne’s calls were amazing. Not that Sam’s weren’t great too!

            • Jan 12, 2017 at 1:31 pm

              Eddie, do you have Tiiki’s interview immediately after the final Cup game in ’94? It is a classic. I can’t find it on YouTube.

            • Jan 12, 2017 at 3:42 pm

              I have all those tapes too!!! My nephew keeps telling me he will transfer them to DVD for me—but I’m still waiting!! Side note—I was too cheap to pay for,at the time, SportsChannel. So the road games vs. Nj were nothing more than radio broadcasts for me—just like in the old days. I didn’t see a complete replay of the “MESSIER Guarantee” Game, until at least a year later—and I still got shivers!!!

              • Jan 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm

                It was the reverse for me. I was living in Chicago and watched all the games on ESPN. I had my dad tape the MSG games and send them to me. I have them all.

                Peter, I think I do have Tik’s interview but I’m trying to remember if it was on ESPN or MSG. I’ll have to go back and check. I have a vague recollection but I haven’t seen the post game coverage in many years. After they skate the Cup, I’m usually done. πŸ™‚

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Is John Gilmour a legitimate NHL piece or just minor league fodder? Word was he is a good skater and puck mover.

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Skilled, but already 23.

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Gilmour is a 23 yr old undersized 3rd pair D in Hartford who can’t play D. In 3 years he could be Matt Bodie.

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 9:47 am

    What’s that I smell?


    This could be just what this team needed … I am hoping something good comes form bad and it leads to the promised land!


    • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Wow—–heard of the word LOYALTY much! Call him up right now and get the jersey back so we can give it to his replacement. Make sure he cleans and irons it first! This is how we get to the promised land—over the backs of our own? FATE? All based on a vague newspaper article? Slow your roll!!!

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        noon, sorry I didn’t mean it like that, FATE meaning the rangers need to make moves eventually and if this injury does in fact mean we lost #18 then its fate…

        hence the line…I am hoping something good comes form bad and it leads to the promised land!

        my roll is good, just I write to fast at work…



      • Jan 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        Whole separate issue. I think loyalty is overrated in a sadistic way. Do the organizations show loyalty to the players, I mean the organizations locked them out twice in hockey? How many work stoppages in other sports as well because of the owners? Do the players show any loyalty to the organizations? Stamkos took a “home town discount” of what last year on that salary? Revis supposedly “wanted” to only play for the Jets again, and yet still took how much money?

        I detest them with a passion as a Jets fan, but the New England Patriots are the model franchise that all should strive to be. The Coach/GM doesn’t care what the name is on your jersey, if you can enable his team to WIN you stay. If you show signs of decline or become a distraction, you’re gone. They sell HIGH on their players. The ONLY thing they’re loyal to, is winning.

        We sometimes forget that all professional sports are nothing more than a business. We tend to forget that because they develop fans across the country and world. Nobody is traveling across the country for Burger King, nobody is traveling cause they have to go THAT Apple store. Fans travel to see players and teams, but at it’s heart its a business.

        So I wish Marc Staal prolonged health in his life. I hope this doesn’t alter his life too dramatically and he doesn’t become one of those people who can’t remember entire days. But if it’s a choice between being “loyal” to Marc Staal who ultimately will be a footnote in NYR history or being “loyal” to the team which will be around longer than him, I’m going to go with the organization. It sounds cold and cruel, but they’ll be around a lot longer.

        Unless they’re owned by Dean Spanos. Too soon?

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    If not answered already, what are the implications if Staal retires for health reasons, say, at the end of the season?

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Since Staal didn’t sign a multi-year contract at age 35 or older, if he were to (unfortunately) retire you simply wipe what’s left on his contract off the books.

      The NHL makes things pretty straightforward with regards to the Cap as opposed to the NFL and NBA.

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:30 am

      He won’t retire and leave the money on the table. NYR would put him on LTIR each season.

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Agreed he wont retire, but if he were unable to play anymore he could be moved to a cap floor team like Pronger and Savard. Hope thats not the case wouldnt want that for any athlete.

        • Jan 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

          Jeez, we have ratcheted this up a bit. We went from day to day to career ending in 3 posts. Might be a new record on this blog.

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

            It’s unbelievable. And of course, it is also possible (although probably not likely) that he will be practicing today, and then cleared to go tomorrow night.

            But alas, it’s what we do here….overreact. πŸ™‚

          • Jan 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm

            Just curious, not manic. : – )

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I think regardless if Staal is healthy, they should go for a top line RHD, with giving up one of our young forwards, I want a young defenseman in return. I know alot of people say they can sign Shatty in the offseason, what if he decides to stay in st louis, what if st louis trades him and he says you know I really like this place, what if this same offense doesnt fire on all cylinders next season.

    Theres plenty of what ifs that can be played, if they can bring in a young RHD like all the ones mentioned and include Klein in the deal (one season left on a 2.9 isnt terrible to take back for a non contender), the defense will be much better.

    Personally Im against moving for a third pair rental because it doesnt make the defense that much better. If Mac a top pair partner and Skjei is now on the second pair, the defense is much better. As my old boss would say “Shit or get off the pot”

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      One, the issues of Staals health and the right side are no way connected.

      Two: the type of package you’re talking is going to hurt us more in the long run. They type of player you want right now, that other organizations know we want and need will cause them to ask for a ransom.

      I’d rather take the minor deals now, and when there is no pressure and a lesser chance of being fleeced in the off-season, make the trade then.

      • Jan 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm


        “Does that change Gorton’s approach to the trade deadline? Does he make a big deal for a young stud 1RD now, instead of waiting for the offseason?” That is why I stated that.

        As for the second thing your point, if our first or second line pair isnt good enough to stop the likes of Pitt/Wash/Chi who cares about our third line, so why make minor deals and give up any assets. Also, I dont think the price of young right handed first line defenseman ultimately changes.

  • Jan 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    They knew last year that the D wasn’t going to cut it. Did nothing in the off season to fix it. More time for Giradi and Mac isnt going to be pretty.

  • Jan 13, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Disagree that Franson, who cannot skate/play defense is an upgrade on a diminished Klein.

    No paying for resources.
    play da kids
    start w/Graves,
    cup of coffee for Gilmour, Day – 5 games each retaining ELC status – would not implode the universe

    LTIR Marc
    if that is basis to buy out his contract special without/less cap damage do it.

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