2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Marc Staal

Want to feel sad? Think about what Marc Staal could have been if he had two eyes. Alas, he’s playing with at most 1.5 eyes. Side note: I was at MSG when he took that puck to the eye. I’ve never heard MSG so quiet. Anyway, that was years ago, and Staal is the longest tenured Rangers skater now.

On the ice, Staal is what he is. He’s a guy that won’t drive offense, but will at least play up to his partner if that partner is a good puck mover. Unfortunately Staal was mostly paired with Neal Pionk for most of the year, so that wasn’t in the cards. However when he was with Tony DeAngelo, we saw an uptick in his game.

That Staal/Pionk pairing was consistently together and consistently bad. I don’t think you needed me to tell you that, though. What is interesting, though, is that Staal and DeAngelo played together as the third most consistent pair, and the results weren’t exactly stellar either. That last bit was a little surprising to me, because it looked like DeAngelo was bringing Staal up to respectability. Perhaps it was just looked that much better because of how bad Staal/Pionk was.

Despite all that, though, Staal still got the second most ice time at even strength among all defenders. That’s a product of David Quinn relying on his veterans, and the other LD options aside from Brady Skjei (who got the most ice time) were pretty bad.

Staal was bad at even strength, but he was by far the most used defenseman on the penalty kill. The results were, as expected, horrible.

The penalty kill with Staal on the ice was a disastrous 28% above the average threat level. Now there is a lot to consider here, as most of the red (purple?) is on the right side of the ice where Pionk played. That’s worth keeping an eye on if they get split up on the PK next year.

Meanwhile with Staal off the ice, the threat on the PK drops to 12% below normal threat levels. The left side of the ice has significantly less red in it, and is actually shaded green. For what it’s worth, Brady Skjei was the main LD used on the PK when it wasn’t Staal. But you can see the difference in the shot heatmaps.

Staal is what he is at this point. None of this analysis should be new to any of you. I’d like to see what he can do with a better RD attached to him. But for now, he’s got two years left and can help the Rangers stay bad, if that’s the direction they want to go in next year.

Grade: C-, mostly because it’s hard to be surprised by this anymore.

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  • A+….Staal is a good solid Ranger who keeps his head down and never complains…but its time for him to go

  • Happy Mother’s Day, be good to mom today and every day.

    Grade is about right. I don’t get this “loyalty” to Staal. Yes, it is unfortunate that injuries derailed his career, but ne has just under $6M per to help him get over it.

    He should not be taking a spot from younger players.

  • IMO, Staal plays here one more season, then a buyout which will coincide with the bulk of Girardi’s dead money coming off the books. It’s too bad this guy has become what he now is, he was a really good Ranger D-man in his day.

  • Reprint from the prior thread:

    Hughes got better as the game went on. Doesn’t know his linemates, doesn’t go into traffic with the puck, doesn’t know how to handle size yet. Has to be playing on instinct at this point, because after most shifts in the 1st 40 he looked spent.

    Good job backchecking and sticking his nose in at his own end; really played a 200’ game.

    Fox is easily the Rangers best RD right now. He handled size rather well, an active stick but uses his body well to get bigger guys off the puck and makes the simple play to a free man once he gets it.
    In the OZ, he’s making all the right reads, can shed coverage at the point to lob a grenade into the crease to create havoc.

    Kreider with the goal, blew up Texier something fierce in the 3rd. Tex chased him all over the ice the rest of the shift. Wound him up so much he got suckered into the roughing his next shift.

    Skjei played a good game all day bar one play that he recovered on. Made more than a few subtle plays to shake the forecheck before heading up ice. Really starting to think it’s the system and not the player.


    Fox with Staal would be an improvement; at this point I’m not sure why you qualify Pionk to only trade him. You can front load a bridge deal and flip him July 2nd to Ottawa as a cut rate 2nd pair that they don’t pay a lot for, but he’s easily 4th RD on this team.

    As for Staal, just ride it out. Maybe buy out the final season, but I’m not even sure of that.

    • Again, Hughes has done zero to play himself out of the #1 pick.

      It would be a marketing nightmare for the Devs not to pick an all-American star like Hughes. Yes, stuff like this matters to the Devs’ ticket selling “success.” Plus getting Taylor Hall an elite center is a priority.

      • Tony no one gets it over there…Its truly amazing…Its obvious no one over there watches hockey outside of the Rangers

          • One says no way we need Trouba because we have Shatty….Another says we cant part with 2 # 20’s…Trouba had 50 pts last year and thats not even the main part of his game…6’4″ mean mobile stud that you cant beat 1 on 1

          • I am fighting the good fight pal, lol. I seem to be on an island by myself there, but that’s ok, I can take it, lol.

          • Tony

            I got your back, we both have been saying the same thing. As to the loyalty for some of these players, just think the Oilers traded Gretzky, who is anywhere near that good that we should hold on to. NOBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • How do the Rangers (Gorton) justify a non-qualify to Pionk after all the playing time he received this past season? Granted, he didn’t deserve that time, but he got it! Friggin conundrum.

  • He needs to retire same with hank. Your service to the team is admirable and appreciated but hockey is a young mans game and there comes a time when you need to ask yourself if you can keep up with the game or has the game passed you by. Same to hank.

    Both those contracts need to go. They are standing in the way of a rebuild.

    • Does he run a franchise that desperately needs to win hockey games? lol

      Forget the pseudo-pundits and pundits, Kakko is looking great while Hughes is just looking good.

      • Hahaha He’s good…check it out…he covers the juniors and NCAA kids and gives you the info… good stuff

        • There is also this…Slovakia is not a good team and this Canada team is WAY short of their best foot forward

        • They all make mistakes and they all fall in love … that isn’t to suggest that they are often right, but they also make their fair share of mistakes when evaluating talent. This is why you have an actual draft and just don’t assign players to teams based on some amalgamation of pundit opinions.

  • That first threat level chart is just stunning. Can’t even blame it being skewed by QoC and matchups since PK QoC tend to be pretty similar right?

  • Fun fact: In a given minute at 5v5 over the last two years, the Rangers were more likely to score with Marc Staal on the ice than with Pavel Buchnevich on the ice. And of course much more likely than KZB.

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