The New York Rangers’ defense is one that is going to struggle mightily this season. Heck, through the team’s first three games, they’ve looked awful.
They’ve allowed 13 goals in three games, have looked lost in their own zone, have been out of position on many plays, and don’t look extremely confident with the puck. Marc Staal embodies all of these defensive miscues for this hockey club.
Staal used to be one of the club’s most reliable and consistent defenseman, but that has certainly changed in the last few seasons. It is safe to say that while he is still just 31 years of age, he may already be on the back nine of his career.
For starters, he is extremely slow. He really can’t skate whether it’s with or without the puck.
If you want someone to start the rush on the backend, he is not the guy you ask to do that as he looks like he can barely move out there. With the way Quinn wants the team to play, Staal is not a good fit.
Staal also can’t handle the puck anymore. He used to be someone that could make great outlet passes, but those days appear to be long gone. His passes are never tape to tape, he now turns over the puck on a more regular basis, and he is simply unreliable with the puck in his own end.
Speaking of being unreliable in his own end, his defensive game is brutal. He gets caught out of position, doesn’t exactly block shots, and he seems to get in his goaltender’s way. If he continues to do this, Rangers’ masked man Henrik Lundqvist is going to throw a fit.
I know he’s one of the team’s alternate captains (full-time one at that) and he’s been with organization for a long time, but in my opinion, he’s done. He’s slow, his skills are declining, and he does not fit the model that Quinn wants to use going forward.
It’s time to say goodbye to Staal. Like former Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi, Staal put in his time and was a true soldier for this franchise. With that said, it’s time for both the player and the franchise to move on.
Photo: New York Daily News