Archive for Marc Staal

We’ve seen this narrative play out before haven’t we? Popular players in contract years can never seem to avoid fan scrutiny, beat writer adoration, or trade rumors. It’s Cally, Girardi, Henrik, etc. all over again, except this season it’s Marc Staal.

Over the past few weeks, the conversation around Staal has started to heat up. He’s been described as ‘untouchable’ by some and a ‘tire fire’ by others. Somewhere between extremes is where reality usually lies.

Before we evaluate whether or not to resign, trade, or let Marc walk, we have to define what his role will be moving forward. From there we can analyze if there are adequate replacements inside or outside the organization.

Staal’s role

Last spring Marc described his role within AV’s team concept to Steve Serby of the NYPost.

Defensive defenseman. I take care of my own end … try to be great positionally and have a good stick, and make sure I’m getting out of my end quickly, not spending a lot of time there … get transition, give it to the forwards, and let them do their thing.”

Roles like these are always tough to quantify, especially for players like Staal who are typically deployed in their own end zone, against top scoring lines, and don’t contribute much offensively.

Fortunately, war-on-ice.com has begun tracking shots in the slot/hextally figures and scoring chances – long overdue in my opinion – which gives us a decent view of Staal’s effectiveness.

Some stats

So far this season, Staal’s even-strength scoring chances against (per 60 minutes of playing time) is 25.60, which is right in line with his career average. However, his scoring chances for (per 60 minutes of playing time) is 24.80, which is well below his career average (27.9).

Obviously there are many factors at play here, but the macro takeaway is that he’s still solid in his own zone defensively, but perhaps not at getting the puck up ice. Whether or not this is a blip on the radar or a trend remains to be seen. However, it seems his play is heading in the right direction after a tough stretch between mid-November and mid-December.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 6.14.46 PM

On Ice Scoring Chance Differential

Staal’s value

With limited offensive potential, Staal’s value is ultimately going to be determined by whether or not GMs view him as a first or second pairing defensemen. If they believe him to be a first pairing defensemen, he could probably get $5.5-$5.9M per year for 5-6 years, which is about what most defensemen in his role and age range have been garnering (e.g., Seabrook, Girardi, Carle, etc.).

If they view him as a second pairing defensemen, he’s probably looking at $4.5M-$4.9M and a similar term. Again, this is looking at recent contracts for defensemen in similar roles and age range (e.g., Stralman, Tyutin, Goligoski, etc.).

Staal’s Replacement

I always get ragged on for suggesting that Marc could join his brothers in Carolina. I just have a hard time seeing him sign anywhere else if he doesn’t re-up with NY. The Canes defense is aging and mediocre. They don’t have any d-men (other than Falk) locked up long-term. More importantly, Eric and Jordan have NTCs.

Trading Staal pre-free agency would make sense, but I’m sure every GM is aware of the possibility he could head south this summer. Knowing this, the most we could probably get in return is a pick or a prospect, neither of which help us win a Cup this year.

As far as internal options go, McIlrath (currently in Hartford) is probably a bottom pairing defensemen if he even makes it to Broadway. John Moore still has a ways to go if we’re going to bump him up from the third pairing. Connor Allen (also in Hartford) is probably more of a backup for Moore than a replacement for Staal. Brady Skjei (NYR 1st rounder in 2012) is the likely replacement, but he’s still a year or two away.

The Final Word

Ultimately, if you don’t want to resign Staal for the terms described above, you’re probably looking at a stopgap solution via free agency or an offseason trade until Brady Skjei can take the reigns.

Categories : Analysis, Players
Comments (32)

The idea which has been floated around by Rangers beat writers all season that Marc Staal is an extremely important piece of this Rangers team and therefore must be signed to a contract extension is simply not true. Staal is an average to below average NHL defenseman at this point in his career due to, among other things, concussions and the eye injury we all remember very well. Turning 28 in January, Staal is believed to be seeking a six year deal worth $6 million annually, while the Rangers are offering him a deal similar to that of Dan Girardi’s six-year $5.5 million deal. Either contract would be a terrible deal for the Blueshirts.

Staal would be on the wrong side of 30 midway through his deal and if his numbers this season (5v5: CF% of 48%, P/60 of 0.48, CA/60 of 52.36) are any indication of the future, the Rangers would be wise to cut ties. In 162:05 TOI (yes, small sample size) defensive partner Dan Boyle has a 5v5 CF% of 48.5% when they’re on the ice together. In 115:50 TOI when Boyle is without Staal, he has a 5v5 CF% of 54.7%. Despite the small sample sizes my belief is these numbers wont change drastically one way or the other.

Beyond the #fancystats Staal just simply hasn’t been the same force on defense he was prior to those gruesome injuries. We’ve seen him get burned, we’ve seen his decision making take a hit, and we’ve seen his overall play diminish.

I would imagine that teams around the league still find value in a player like Staal, however misplaced it may be. He has name recognition, a first round pedigree and has been a part of a relatively successful Rangers team over the past several years. The Rangers should be looking to trade him, not extend him.

If Staal was looking for reasonable money and a short term extension I would be all for re-signing him. But he’s not. With plenty of UFAs and RFAs needing new contracts at the end of the year (Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast), if the Rangers give Staal big money they’re likely going to have to part with St. Louis or Zuccarello, two incredibly important pieces to this team, specifically Zucc.

Glen Sather would be hurting the Rangers for years to come should he give Staal the type of contract the two sides are discussing. A cap-strapped team with young talent that will be lost due to poor decision making and overvaluing defensemen due to their size and strength would make for a pretty bad situation for this franchise as well as its fans. As much as it hurts to see another home grown Ranger leave town, it would be the wise move to make.

Categories : Players
Comments (30)
Dec
18

Musings: Lots of Rangers Rolling

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50 goal season?

50 goal season?

What a difference a week makes. The Rangers went to Western Canada unsure of themselves and came back on a roll, with a double header against a weak opponent on tap. It’s the festive season and the Rangers can really make some ground up to close out the year. A week to go before Christmas, let’s muse.

The cliché was always that power forwards take several years to maximise their potential. Could it really be that Rick Nash has only just begun to fulfil his potential? Yes he has been an elite power forward for several years and a consistent goal scorer but it’s a fair argument that he’s never maxed his undoubted skill set and upside. Until now.

Nash is definitely having the best patch of his career. Consistent, a beast at both ends all the while he’s finishing at an unprecedented rate. He’s a game changing force every single game. It’s early, but people have started to whisper the words Hart Trophy candidate with regard to Nash. Absolutely deserves to be in the mix.

Should we be worried about Dan Boyle? Or glad that he’s a sort of afterthought because of the improved play of the Rangers ‘big three’ on the blueline?

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Categories : Musings
Comments (8)
Dec
12

The odd career arc of Marc Staal

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Staal

Marc Staal has been a polarizing player for the New York Rangers this year. A pending free agent with a $3.975 cap hit, the Rangers are facing a critical decision involving another core piece –their third decision to make in two years. On one side of the coin, the Rangers can re-sign Staal, who is looking at a contract rivaling Dan Girardi’s deal (six years, $5.5 million per). On the other side of the coin, the Rangers can trade him, like they did with former captain Ryan Callahan.

On the surface, it’s not an easy decision to make. Trading Staal would mean that the entire leadership core from last season (Cally, Staal, Brad Richards) will have departed. However, Staal’s play has seriously regressed since the concussion and freak eye injury. Or at least, that’s what it seems. Staal has had a very weird career arc.

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Categories : Players
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john moore

Right now, John Moore hasn’t earned a new deal with the New York Rangers. However the young, underperforming yet talented blueliner’s future may be closely linked to that of Marc Staal. This season the Rangers are discovering what too much roster turnover in one offseason can cause. Part of the Rangers’ problems to begin the year has been a lack of chemistry up front as well as on the blueline. So would the Rangers be willing to let Staal and Moore go? As well as potentially having to fill the other spot on the third pairing?

Staal is looking for a minimum of 5.5m per year. He hasn’t earned that type of deal when focussing on his performances this season. Moore (according to the Post) is likely to receive 1.5m per year in arbitration. Given that number is almost double his current salary it’s hard to see the Rangers agreeing to that kind of deal. These kind of numbers only add to the uncertainty surrounding Moore. In short, both defensemen have huge question marks in front of their Ranger futures.

Currently a healthy scratch, Moore hasn’t really done much to warrant an extension but the tantalising talent is still there and plenty of defenseman don’t peak until their mid twenties. Should the Rangers wait for Moore to find the next level? Their decision could depend on Marc Staal’s future.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (2)
Nov
27

The Rangers Thanksgiving musings

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Goal scorer extraordinaire (Scott Levy/Getty Images)

Goal scorer extraordinaire (Scott Levy/Getty Images)

Have a happy thanksgiving everyone. Just a few Rangers thoughts to keep you going as you head into the thanksgiving weekend.

Last season it was a ‘Marty St Louis love fest’. The two games against the Lightning this season, well they have been Ryan Callahan love fests. Given the Rangers’ familiarity with their former captain and fan favourite it is completely unacceptable Callahan can have as much time and space in front of Lundqvist as he has done. Has a player ever torched their ex-club so much in their first games against their former employers as Captain Cally has?

Once again, we’ve seen the ugly side of Marc Staal. He was awful against Callahan and the Lightning. Yet he was excellent against the Canadiens and Flyers. Again, this type of inconsistency cannot be accepted especially for someone wanting the dollars Staal does.

Rick Nash scores when he wants. Nash had one of his quieter games in recent weeks. He wasn’t as dominant as he usually is yet he had a two point night. It’s always a good sign when a player finds ways to contribute even when not at their best. Nash has been a beast this year and is the absolute critical mass the Rangers need him to be.

Funny how things work out: Kevin Klein’s contract is starting to look very good value. In a league where a guy like Nikita Nikitn can get well over 4m on a multi-year deal, Klein’s steady improvement is making him a bargain. The sample size is small but Klein certainly has the talent to keep it up.

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Categories : Musings
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Can the Rangers rely on Dan Girardi? Photo: McIsaac/Getty

Can the Rangers rely on Dan Girardi? Photo: McIsaac/Getty

With a few exceptions the Rangers have been abysmal in their own end for almost the entire season. Whether it’s been the disruptions to the line up caused by the myriad of injuries or ‘a lack of desperation’ (says Rick Nash) or execution on any particular game night, it doesn’t matter. The Rangers have not been good enough.

The Rangers play a bad Flyers team Wednesday night. However they play a team that is loaded with offensive talent and given the Rangers’ struggles in their own end it is a game the Rangers could easily lose – particularly in their current state.

Consider the Rangers most senior blueliners for a moment. Dan Girardi is being paid like an elite defenseman. Marc Staal is expecting to be paid like an elite defenseman. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle are being paid handsomely and even Kevin Klein is being paid better than most. Yet the Rangers defense has been appalling.

It’s unfair to expect miracles from a Matt Hunwick or Mike Kostka. Even less can be reasonably expected of Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath. However, a significant portion of the blame needs to lie at the feet of Girardi and Staal. Their play causes significant concern moving forward.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (14)
Nov
13

The Rangers’ Marc Staal dilemma

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Marc Staal's future could have a huge influence on the Rangers competitiveness.

Marc Staal’s future could have a huge influence on the Rangers competitiveness.

It’s amazing the difference one dominant performance can make. Prior to the Pens game I was ready to criticise Marc Staal pretty heavily, and all of a sudden he turns out his best performance of the year. However, the point of this post remains. For now.

This year, on a consistent basis, the Rangers have been poor in their own end. Games where the Rangers have been acceptable defensively (such as the Pens game, where the team played well – for the most part – in front of Henrik Lundqvist) have been the exception rather than the rule. Some of this can certainly be attributed to the defensive unit being blown up by injury and suspension but there have been two constants in the line-up in Marc Staal and Girardi.

While Girardi has been inconsistent he has rebounded to some extent. Marc Staal however has been playing at an unacceptable level given his salary expectations and the standards we have come to expect. Make no mistake, Staal has had a few good games this season and really was more like his usual self against the Pens, and he remains a player with tremendous skill and size, but the Rangers need Staal to be much better consistently (key word).

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Categories : Defense
Comments (21)
Oct
27

The Rangers have had too many passengers

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Marc Staal needs to be better. Especially if he wants to cash in.

Marc Staal needs to be better. Especially if he wants to cash in.

Marc Staal quite frankly has been awful, Henrik Lundqvist has been inconsistent, Martin St Louis has been on the periphery, and core players such as Mats Zuccarello have either been invisible or terrible, depending on how forgiving you are as a fan. Throughout the Rangers line-up too many players haven’t kicked into gear yet or shown nearly enough consistency.

Almost the entire roster has Rick Nash (and to a lesser extent Chris Kreider) to thank that the record isn’t a lot uglier than 4-4, eight games in. Fancy stats to one side, this team hasn’t passed the good old fashioned eye test. A lot has been made of the Rangers ‘big three’ on defense not playing well so far, and that is certainly true (McDonagh and Staal were both particularly poor in Montreal) but better contributions are required all over the line-up.

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Oct
25

The need for the top-three to be better

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Through the first seven games of the season, the Rangers have tread water with a 4-3 record. Considering the injuries to Derek Stepan and Dan Boyle, that’s what most had hoped for. These are two significant injuries that compound the issue of significant roster turnover from last year. Those that have been with the club for a while need to be the anchors that hold the ship steady, and right now, the top three of Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal have been underwhelming.

The three of them combined have just five assists for the season. Defensive scoring is critical for successful teams, and while I don’t expect this to be an on-going problem throughout the year, it has been a problem nonetheless. While offense is an issue, the more alarming issue is the defensive meltdowns that led to three straight losses where the team allowed 17 goals. Evan Sporer at Blueshirt Banter wrote a good piece about shot quality, and how the Rangers defense was allowing quality shots. I’m not going to re-hash it here, but you should check it out, it’s a brilliant post.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (4)