At season's end, Rob did an analysis of each player on the roster, and gave some thoughts on what lies ahead for each one. Since so many of you are new to Blueshirt Banter, we thought we would bring some of those profiles to you again. Today we have Rob's look at Marc Staal:
#18 - Marc Staal (Age: 22) - Grade: A
The best Defenseman on the roster, hands down. In his second full season with the Blueshirts, Marc Staal proved that he is worth his weight in gold. He added five more points this season for 15 total, with 3 goals and 12 assists and a -7 rating. The stats aren't official yet, but I would venture a guess that he led the Defensive core in ice-time, and spent most of the season guarding the opposing team's top offensive gun. Sportsnet.ca describes Staal's career potential as a "Shutdown Defenseman" and I thought Staal was just that for the Rangers in 2008-2009.
Final thought from Jim:
Staal is on his way to becoming the next star defensemen on Broadway, following in the footsteps of Ching Johnson, Harry Howell, Brad Park, Ron Greschner, and Brian Leetch, to name a few. Expect his offensive output to increase in John Tortorella's up tempo style of play. Only 22 heading into his 3rd season with the Rangers, fans can expect to see him at MSG for a long time.
Contract Status: Staal enters the final year of his first contract, he will make $765K this year, and become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2010 season. His next contract should arrive in a Brinks truck.
Here is a little video profile of Staal: