Will the ‘A’ keep Marc Staal from being a healthy scratch?

It may be just five games into the season, but David Quinn has already sent a message. When he sat Kevin Shattenkirk for a game after a poor start to the season, the message was clear. It doesn’t matter your contract status or the role you are supposed to have on the team, if you are playing poorly you will sit. Shattenkirk and Neal Pionk have already received that treatment, so it’s not a message to just veterans or kids either.

One action is all well and good, but the true test will be whether or not Marc Staal sees the bench at some point soon. Despite all hopes to the contrary, a new coach and system hasn’t helped Staal this season (yet). He’s been on a tremendous slide for quite some time now, and there appears to be no bottom in sight. He’s the longest tenured Ranger, he’s an alternate captain, and he survived last year’s purge. Is that all enough to keep him in the lineup?

If we are to believe that Quinn’s benching of Shattenkirk and Pionk was a sign of things to come, then one would think that eventually Staal will get the same treatment. But if we know one thing, it’s that someone of Staal’s reputation, tenure, and alternate captain status may lead to him remaining in the lineup, for better or for worse.

At the current moment, the only player who is seeing regular press box time that ideally should be playing is Tony DeAngelo. Luckily for Staal, they are not in direct competition with each other (handedness, role, etc). The Rangers are pretty thin on the left side right now, but the case can –and to be frank, should– be made for Frederik Claesson to get a longer look. He was steady and solid in his Rangers debut. He’s only 25 years old, and he plays a subtle, quick transition game that is needed in the NHL.

It’s just five games into the season, but Quinn may already be facing a very difficult choice. Does he bench Staal for a game in favor of Claesson? Does he keep Staal in the lineup because of off-the-ice reasons? If we are looking at optimal lineup and growth opportunities, then the decision is clear. However this is a rebuild year. If there is something we are not seeing –mentoring, for example– then the decision is not so clear.

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  • How can someone who is not proficient at what he does mentor others? I can see it now, Marc is talking to Pionk, and says:

    “Now when the opponent is skating towards you, make sure that you lean to your natural side or the side that’s more comfortable for you, because when he blows by you, you do not want to pull a muscle and get hurt.”

    Great advice.

    • Haha! Here’s more Staal mentoring: “Make sure that when you pass or shoot that you wait until the forechecker can easily block your attempt. Play the puck slowly at all times.”

      • I mean, I feel bad for the guy because of all he’s been through, known and unknown to the general public, but the guy is toast.

        Athletes hold on way too long, right Eli (sorry Eli, I love you and cherish you, but it’s time to pack it in for the franchise’s sake).

        • Stalzies career has been on the downslope for years…I have always liked Staal, but would serve best as a part-time player with a team that is on the verge of winning a cup……..What keeps Staal from being a healthy scratch on a nightly basis?….Answer: Glen Sather….

  • Healthy scratch? About as likely as the sun rising in the west and setting in the east.

    “Injury” scratch? That’s possible. But still not as likely until Dec at the earliest.

  • I was hoping that Staal would get days off which would rest his legs and allow the young players to get into the lineup. I guess that isn’t going to happen.

  • Unsure if the “A” is keeping him in the lineup, but he needs to watch a few games.
    On a different note, it is much easier to “embrace the tank” when I DO NOT watch the games. I still want to win every game, I assume like the players, but watching the game, I still want wins. These 1 goal losses are going to be tough all year.

  • I like this coach very much, but if he is to have and credibility, Staal has to sit, re-build, or not.

    If we are weak on the left side, as implied, then correct that by bringing up Hajek, end of discussion. Bottom line, Staal is beyond poor, he is immobile, and he stinks up the arena. Sorry to all of Marc’s fans, the time has come to move on!!!!!!!

  • It’s not the “A” that keeps him on the ice. It’s that the Rangers as an organization and Quinn as well RATE Staal. That’s why we gave up assets for McQuaid. We need to accept this reality.

    Staal last year was hands down our worst d-man, much worse than Smith. yet he was always out there. He singlehandedly blew the series against Ottawa, yet the Rangers brought him back out. Sather and Gorton need to go.

  • Staals contract is so bad I dont know how Sather survived….He made so many bad decisions…and you can’t buy Staal out. That would be even worse

    • Have to disagree…. every minute that Staal plays is one taken away from a player that could learn or improve. Stall can NOT learn or improve… he is what he is….(and NOT what he was)

      There is simply NO WAY that *any* of the D-men would not improve using the time that is being wasted on Staal. The only possible good for Staal playing is he increases the chances of the lottery which is a lousy reason. BUY-HIM-OUT. If not, then park him in the press box. You can’t run a business or build a team on sentimentality. He has his memories, he has his money, HOW can he play every game knowing that he is pulling down the team…. I can’t fathom.Give aways, goals against him, I watched two Edmonton player work around him and the camera showed them smiling afterwards (whistle) KNOWING that they fleeced him. If I was coaching against the Rangers, I would have my forwards exploiting him every shift he was on the ice. I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY… that he has been there a LONG time is respected and maybe even revered for his service… but … well… “Old Yeller”… had to go… so does Mark Staal.

  • Judging by how he has coached this year Quinn has no sacred cows. Now that Claesson appears to be serviceable I am certain that Staal will have to sit from time to time. Not that playing Claesson advances the rebuild anymore than playing Staal. I suspect what will happen is there will be a selloff at the trade deadline and then the best LHD in Hartford, most likely Hajek, will be brought up to play the remainder of the season. Best case is that Staal proves to have something left and agrees to a trade at the TD, perhaps if the Rangers pay half is remaining salary, which would still be a significant savings vs. an outright buyout.

  • With teams now having defensemen that are injured for extended periods of time is it now possible we can move some of our defenseman in a trade even if it’s for a mid round draft choice to make room for the younger kids

  • Love these open ended arguments that staal is past his prime and is completely worthless as a player. If everyone on here is so right why hasn’t he been sent down to hartford since obviously no one will offer anything for him in a trade? I mean smith cleared waivers at 4 million a year…why not take the chance on 6.5 million a year clearing waivers? I mean wade redden cleared waivers….didn’t he? Doesn’t the franchise get a little cap relief if he does clear waivers? So the argument that he is up here solely based on his cap hit doesn’t really add up. There may be some on here as I have stated who have absolutely no clue what makes a good defender and same goes for the front office. Did anyone see how Skjei got undressed on that shorthanded goal? And this kid is making 5.7 million. Take the effing body skjei in a one on one …that is basic defensive hockey. I know that and I am a complete idiot. Staal would get burned by in that instance …not even comparing the 2 players but if staal was back no way in hell you would him watch a guy deke around him without stick checking the puck away and then tackling the guy before he rips off that shot. Staal for better or worse is a fundamentals guy with probably one of the best sticks in the league. He doesn’t have the blazing speed to back check when he makes a pinch but how often is it his partner who caught defending a 2 on 1 vs. how often is staal the guy defending a 2 on 1 taking a bath on it? So don’t focus on the guy that is back and unable to make a play against the constant 2 on 1’s. Instead focus your eyes on which defender pinched and got caught and then maybe you will see why staal is still playing.

    That play I mentioned was some of the worst defending I have ever seen from someone making his money with his experience level. I can accept that goof from a rookie or a 2nd maybe but skjei has played 20 min a game for 3 years now and that is what he did? If anything is fair in the Quinn era Skjei should have sat for the rest of the game. Nope he was right back out there coughing up more 2 on 1’s. And led the team in minutes with 24.

    • Skjei is overrated. He’s being paid to be a top defenseman due to a lack of talent. Brady is a superb skater with offensive potential. If he can become a 10 goal, 25-30 assist guy, then it’s not so bad an investment. I’m not giving up on him developing the defensive aspect of his game. But he definitely needs some work. Hopefully, the staff can work with him.

      As for Staal, he was the best defenseman we had last year. The rest sucked. Marc did a solid job both at five on five and on the penalty kill where he remains an asset. That’s part of why he doesn’t come out much. Of course, the contract is bad and there’s still another two years left. He’s had two bad games so far. The other three were fine.

      Unfortunately, his limited skating mobility due to injuries, is easy to critique along with the money he makes. However, he plays with physical edge unlike most of our D. Adding McQuaid helps in that department, but he’s also not the best skater. Brendan Smith has been by far the best D so far. His fitness improvement has benefited him. His skating is much improved along with his battle level.

      I don’t believe Quinn plays favorites. If he feels Staal needs a night off, he can play Claesson, who is solid in his end. I would bet Marc will get some games off when the schedule picks up. They do have eight to work with. I would like to see Tony DeAngelo get more of a shot over McQuaid. I know his defense is an issue, but I like his skating and still believe he can contribute on the power play, as well as in transition.

      I think many fans underestimate Staal’s leadership. It’s important to have a veteran presence who’s been there before. This is a rebuild. If our D were better, I would agree with sitting him more. Until Hajek is ready and possibly Crawley, the blueline is what it is. We just have to remain patient and understand. Don’t forget Staal isn’t getting additional minutes like Shattenkirk or Pionk when he returns tomorrow. The one young D I like. Staal is strictly used at even strength and PK. So, his minutes can be managed.

      I don’t understand why nobody ever says anything about Zuccarello. He looks a step slow and doesn’t seem to have the juice we’re accustomed to seeing. I don’t think he fits the roster. He still hustles, but maybe that gritty style has finally caught up. He’ll always be beloved for what he’s accomplished and overcome. I just think he’s better off on another team competing for the playoffs.

      • Nice points. I dont think it was you that downvoted me but I upvoted you for having a discussion.

        I am not sold on mcquaid as of yet. He at times looks lost in front of hank, so I concur with playing deangelo over him. But I also think the GM has more of say to this particular situation and quinn isn’t trying to ruffle feathers too much this early.

        I agree pionk is our best rookie defenseman. I saw that last year in the time he was up. Solid kid only going to get better with more playing time.

        Smith is stuck again with his willingness to play his off side. I think that truly is what got him in trouble last year combined with the lack of game shape. I think his mistakes will stay low if he is used on the left side. Him and staal as a pair don’t work in my eyes. I think those 2 need to be separated at all times. Problem is who do you pair him with then as a coach? Him and Skjei don’t work. Him and Shatty seem ok at times, but could see it hard for the coach to trust him in that pairing. Him and DeAngelo would probably be the best duo. But since ADA isn’t playing often and to stay in the lineup he says I will switch to my off side. Not a good strategy in my opinion. So smith is left in no where land. Pionk just doesn’t know enough of when to cover him or when to join the rush so that is too much to ask of a rookie.

        Depth chart for left handed defensemen on this team is
        Skjei, Staal, Smith, Claesson.

        In my vision the real depth should be Smith, Staal, Claesson and then Skjei so far in this season. Now it can change fast. This isn’t my opinion on talent level cause that would be reversed. But structure and consistency is what this team needs to find its rhythm.

        Knowing you are playing every game and knowing your role for every game is basic for success. The more you do something consistently the more you will get better at it. Yes there will be some crap nights but after time that consistency should make them better players. Play a relaxed defensive oriented game til the team gets the basics like what Torts and Renney did. Play defense first then worry about the otherside of the rink once it is mastered. I am fine losing now 2 – 1 every night. Cause I know that won’t last. Eventually those 2 – 1 games will be 2-2 ties and then 2-1 wins. It is boring hockey but it teaches the youth there positions with the least amount of negative affect on their attitude. They can blame the loses on the coach.

        I think the real issue with this strategy is the player you pointed out. He didn’t fair well under Torts. Torts shuts down creative high risk plays and that is Zuc’s bread and butter. And so far what I am hearing is the same thing out of Quinn …no more east west passes in the neutral zone. This is going to destroy Zuc’s morale. His points are going to go way down this year. Making the safe play is not his thing. He is no grinder. He wins battles but he will never last in a career of board battling. The Average d is just to big against him. And Zib is too soft to play that style also. That is why Fast was put on Zib’s line. Cause the only one with a back bone is Krieder on that line so he knew he had to break it up for his system or style of play to work. I thought Buch would have put on a ton more muscle and been more of a presence this season but it looks like the same old softie. So expect him to wander for a while also. Russians are known to be soft players that is why Ovi was such a shock when he came in bowling everyone over with checks and scoring like he did. But Buch is no Ovi …more a Malkin with a lot less talent.

        So in short …Zuc isn’t the only problem on the O side. I think Howden being promoted so quickly/highly is proof of that. There is grind line on this team …the first line and second can’t score unless it is a perfect play. Watch them behind the net with the puck they just don’t even know what to do. It is sad really.

    • “If everyone on here is so right why hasn’t he been sent down to hartford since obviously no one will offer anything for him in a trade?”

      Well, we’ve identified the person who has no clue what the clause that states “No Movement” means in a contract.

      • I am an idiot and fully admit that. Thanks for pointing it out so gracefully. But atleast I learned something today.

      • I couldn’t believe that actually existed. Thought it just meant no trade without consent. So something like what happeded to Leetch didn’t happen again. Shame on any GM that gives that to any player with a big contract. That is like permission to eff off for a season and just ride the wave. Gives the team no recourse if a player dives on a season. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND OFFERS THAT? Amazing and this front office keeps it’s job. Unbelievable. I still believe what I said outside of that on Staal. I still think he is a good player and deserves to be in the NHL. If I was armchair GMing I would send down Mcquaid. But 2 right handed rookie defenders on a team is a tough pill to swallow night after night.

      • It’s always the same opinions. I don’t know the point of our fans getting angry over this season. They finally have a new coach with a fresh perspective, who won’t put up with lazy, inconsistent play. The KZB line is part of the problem. They’ve never dominated consistently at 5-on-5 and got off to poor starts. That’s why they were broken up. Zibanejad shows up when he wants. He should be a 30-35 goal and 70 point guy. Kreider still is an enigma despite his immense skill. We are still waiting for the 30 goal and 60-plus point breakout. If not this year, they’ll unload him next season.

        Buchnevich should be dominating shifts at even strength. He got stronger, but it isn’t noticeable. He still is too much on the perimeter and doesn’t attempt enough shots. He also dismissed Quinn’s left wing experiment after one game. Then mailed it in on Saturday. That’s a lousy attitude for a young player with his talent. Hopefully, the demotion or benching can light a fire under his ass.

        The biggest issue I see is the lack of top tier talent. Let’s face it. We overrate every young player and annoint them before they’ve accomplished anything. Chytil has more upside than Buchnevich. He’s the future. I’m glad he’s getting tried out with Hayes. But I would like to see him get a look with Zibanejad and Kreider.

        Expectations are low. However, I don’t see any reason Buchnevich can’t produce 20 goals and 55-60 points. He should be able to get half the production on the power play. Similar to Zibanejad. They need Shattenkirk to round into form. Without that, they have no power play quarterback.

        I have low expectations for Zuccarello based on what I’ve seen. I think he knows he’s done here come February. Zucc will always hustle. But if he’s lost a step, that doesn’t bode well.

        I’m also down in Spooner. Why did they overpay both him and Namestnikov? I would’ve kept one and moved the other for a pick.

        I’m definitely curious to see how they come out tomorrow against another opponent with elite talent. Enjoy the show.

  • No rebuild on back end. There is plenty of youth who need time to play but not being used. Instead we have Stahl and McQuaid is this being done to loose more game to assure that we tank. I am all in for the first pick or second pick in 2019 draft! Unfortunate it is happening to DeAngelo love his play! His offense!

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