Staal with the Rangers in 2012
January 13, 1987 |
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)|
|NHL team||New York Rangers|
|NHL Draft||12th overall, 2005
New York Rangers
Marc Staal (born January 13, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman and an alternate captain for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is the younger brother of Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, and the older brother of Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Jared Staal of the Edinburgh Capitals in the Elite Ice Hockey League. Of the four brothers, Marc is the only defenceman.
Staal grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and was a minor hockey teammate of future NHLers Tom Pyatt, Ryan Parent and Taylor Chorney with the Thunder Bay Kings AAA program.
Staal played junior hockey from 2003 to 2007 for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL, where he was the team's captain, and led the Wolves to their first trip to the OHL finals in 30 years. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2005 NHL Entry Draft in the first round, 12th pick overall. While most NHL scouts had projected Staal to be a top-ten selection, he fell in the draft and the Rangers, seeing Staal available even after the 11th pick was made, made a draft day trade to move up; in exchange for the Atlanta Thrashers' 12th overall selection, which they obtained from the San Jose Sharks, the Rangers dealt the Thrashers both its 16th and 41st picks.
Staal played for Team Canada in the 2006 and 2007 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, bringing home gold models both times. He was named the tournament's top defenceman in the 2006 Championships.
Marc and younger brother Jared played together in Sudbury during 2006–07 season.
On May 7, 2007, the OHL announced that Staal was the recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's Most Outstanding Defenceman for the 2006–07 season. This prestigious award was previously won by future NHL players Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin. On May 13, 2007, although his Sudbury team lost the OHL Championship Series to the Plymouth Whalers in six games, Staal was named the winner of the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award, which goes to the League's post-season most valuable player (MVP).
On October 4, 2007, Staal made his National Hockey League debut for the New York Rangers, as well as for Head Coach Tom Renney, who would use him in that first season primarily in a defensive role. Staal would record his first NHL point against the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2007, when Chris Drury deflected his shot in for a goal, earning Staal an assist. Staal scored his first NHL goal on November 14, 2007, against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. His wrist shot from the left faceoff circle sailed over the outstretched glove of goaltender Martin Brodeur and deflected in off the crossbar. Assisting on his first goal in the NHL were teammates Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan. During 2007–08, Staal was one of 16 rookies selected to participate in the YoungStars competition at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, where he scored a goal and added an assist. Staal finished his rookie season with ten points on the strength of two goals and eight assists; he also established himself as a reliable defender, posting a positive plus/minus rating at +2, as the Rangers qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. He saved his best for the playoffs, with his first NHL playoff goal and two assists to help the Rangers defeat the Devils in five games during the Eastern Conference Quarter-finals. The goal was important — in the pivotal Game 4, Staal's slapper broke a 3–3 deadlock late in the third period and stood to be the game-winning goal in a 5–3 victory that gave the Rangers a 3–1 lead in the series. Like his first regular season goal, it also came against Martin Brodeur. However, despite their win over the Devils in the Conference Quarter-finals, the Rangers would fall to the eventual Stanley Cup runner-up Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.
In 2008–09, Staal improved his offensive output to 15 points, scoring three goals and adding 12 assists, all career highs. He returned to the YoungStars Competition as a sophomore at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal, and scored two goals. Late in the season, a coaching change led to a more offensive philosophy designed to propel the Rangers into the playoffs. The defensive-minded Tom Renney was replaced by John Tortorella, who encouraged more offence from all of his players, including Staal. As a result, much of Staal's production came toward the end of the season; 6 of his 15 points came after the coaching change, in just 21 games (as opposed to nine in 61 under Renney). The Rangers would again qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs on the strength of their strong finish, but this time were defeated in the first round by the Washington Capitals in seven games after blowing a 3–1 series lead. During the series, Staal would record his second career NHL playoff goal.
In the summer of 2009, Marc and his brothers Eric and Jordan were invited to try out for a Team Canada roster spot for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. However, when the team was named on December 30, 2009, Eric was the only Staal named to the squad.
In his third NHL season, Staal began to transition into more of a two-way role for the Rangers during 2009–10 as the development of his offence continued under John Tortorella. Staal enjoyed the first four-game point streak of his career (one goal and three assists). Though the Rangers would miss the playoffs for the first time in Staal's career, he would establish new career highs with eight goals, 19 assists, 27 points and a career-best +11 rating during the season. He saved his finest for late in the year, scoring a beautiful, coast-to-coast goal against Florida Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen on April 3, 2010, after receiving the puck from teammate Henrik Lundqvist in the defensive zone. For Staal, it capped a three-game goal-scoring streak and ignited a Rangers comeback in an eventual 4–1 victory that kept the Rangers' playoff hopes alive. The team missed the playoffs on the final day of the season, however, losing 2–1 in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers, who took the eighth and final playoff spot from the Rangers. Staal led all Ranger skaters in ice time during the final game, on-ice for 29:16 of the game's 65 minutes and finished at +1.
In 2010, Marc became a restricted free agent for the first time. Though negotiations between Staal's camp and Rangers General Manager Glen Sather were often slow, Staal signed a five-year, $19.875 million extension with the team on September 15, 2010. After a strong training camp, John Tortorella recognized Staal's leadership qualities in October 2010 by naming him an alternate captain at the age of 23.
During the 2010–11 season, Staal was chosen for the first time to participate in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. During the game, he enjoyed a rare opportunity to play on the same team as his brother Eric. Staal tied Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers for most shorthanded goals among defencemen, with 2.
On February 22, 2011, in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Staal was checked by his brother, Eric. Marc was looking down, fighting for the puck with another Hurricanes player, when Eric came and threw a hard shoulder check, and Marc was slow to get up. It was a legal check, and Marc played for the rest of the season, setting career highs with 22 assists and 29 points. However, it was revealed before the Rangers' 2011 training camp began that Staal was suffering from post-concussion symptoms. He did not play until January 2, 2012, in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers. He only played 46 games in 2011–12, struggling to get his timing back from the injury as he posted a career worst −7 and only five points (two goals and three assists). He got better as the season went on, however, and helped the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-finals against the Washington Capitals, Staal scored a memorable overtime goal to give the Rangers a 3–2 win. After teammate Brad Richards had scored a rebound goal with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime, Staal's powerplay slapshot from the point past Braden Holtby gave the Rangers a 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead.
Staal continued his strong play into the lock-out-shortened 2012–13, averaging over 0.5 points per game for the first time in his career in his first 21 games. However, during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, in New York, on March 5, 2013, Staal suffered a scary eye injury. A slap-shot by Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen was deflected by Flyer forward Jakub Voráček into Staal's right eye, sending him to the ice. After the game, it was concluded that Staal suffered a small retinal tear in his right eye and an orbital fracture. The injury effectively ended his season, as he only played in one game the rest of the year, in the first round of the playoffs, before pulling himself from the line-up again. When he returned, he wore a visor for the first time in his career due to the nature of the injury.
In the 2013–14 season, Staal finally played a full season after his two injury-shortened seasons, with 72 regular season games and another 20 in the playoffs, helping the Rangers reach their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. His point totals were modest (three goals and 11 assists for 14 points during the regular season, and one goal and four assists in the playoffs), as he focused primarily on staying healthy and re-establishing his solid defensive presence. He was the third Staal brother to reach the Finals, after older brother Eric won in 2006 with the Hurricanes and younger brother Jordan was part of two consecutive finals with the Penguins in 2008 and 2009, winning the latter.
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Staal is an excellent skater, adept shot blocker and regular penalty killer with the Rangers. Offensively, he is a smart passer who makes the intelligent plays to his teammates and generally plays positionally. Due to his skating ability, he periodically joins the offensive rush despite being a defenceman. He has a very accurate wrist shot and a hard slapshot that has improved in accuracy since his NHL debut. His improving offence led him to see more ice time on the power play beginning in the 2010–11 season, where he can apply those offensive skills more directly in the scoring effort. Upon entering the NHL, the Rangers coaching staff have primarily used him in a defensive role. However his point totals improved steadily his first few years in the NHL, and each year from 2007–08 to 2009–10, he established new career highs in goals, assists and points.
Staal is most known for his strong defensive ability on the rink. He can consistently take up space on the ice, and has the ability to guard players, while giving them very few shots and opportunities during games. This was made apparent in the 2015 Eastern Conference finals between the New York Rangers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In game one of the series, Staal guarded proficient scorer Steven Stamkos, and successfully held Stamkos to very few shots throughout the entire game. Starting in game two, the Lightning were forced to rearrange lines to make it harder for Staal's control of Stamkos.
Staal is also known for his hard open-ice body checks. He has thrown many hard open-ice hits into well-known NHL players, including Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, his brother Jordan, Mike Comrie, Jason Spezza, David Krejčí, John Tavares, Mike Green and Mike Knuble. One of his hardest hits was delivered on Calgary's Matt Stajan in November 2010. As Stajan skated into the offensive zone, he prepared to send a pass toward his left. Unknown to Stajan, who had turned to follow his pass, Staal was coming across from Stajan's right and delivered a clean, hard shoulder to shoulder hit that left Stajan struggling on the ice. The hit dislodged Stajan's helmet and stick. Almost immediately, the hit prompted questions about whether or not it was clean, due to a new NHL rule for the 2010–11 season that banned blindside hits to the head. However, reviews of the play indicated the principal point of contact had been the shoulder. Staal, generally known as a clean player, was neither suspended nor penalized for the hit. Had he been suspended, the suspension would have been his first in the NHL. The hit knocked Stajan out of the game, and Stajan would miss the next two of his team's contests with an "upper body injury," although he was not diagnosed with a concussion as many feared. Of the hit, Staal defended the play, simply saying:
|“||"With the new rule about the blindside hits I think (big hits) come under more analysis. But all I did was step up and finish him."||”|
For his part, Stajan held no ill will towards Staal for the hit, responding:
|“||"Hockey is a contact sport. There are going to be hits like that...That's part of hockey. If you have your head down or you're looking at a pass, there will be guys who take advantage of it. That's part of the sport...Obviously, I didn't see him coming. Two guys were yelling for the puck to my left side. I fed it over to [defenceman Mark Giordano], and I took a look just to make sure it was [Giordano]. Obviously, Staal came from my right and blindsided me. But there's hits like that in hockey. I think it's part of the sport...He got me with a good one, that's for sure."||”|
Staal married his longtime girlfriend Lindsay Ruggles on August 12, 2011; they have known each other since high school. He proposed to her on December 25, 2010. Their first child, a daughter, Anna Veralyn Staal, was born February 4, 2014, in New York City. Their second child, a daughter Emily was born February 20, 2016. Their third child, a son named Jack, was born in October 2017.
|2005–06||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||—||—||—||—||—||12||0||2||2||8|
|2007–08||New York Rangers||NHL||80||2||8||10||42||10||1||2||3||8|
|2008–09||New York Rangers||NHL||82||3||12||15||64||7||1||0||1||0|
|2009–10||New York Rangers||NHL||82||8||19||27||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||New York Rangers||NHL||77||7||22||29||50||5||0||1||1||0|
|2011–12||New York Rangers||NHL||46||2||3||5||16||20||3||3||6||12|
|2012–13||New York Rangers||NHL||21||2||9||11||14||1||0||0||0||0|
|2013–14||New York Rangers||NHL||72||3||11||14||24||25||1||4||5||6|
|2014–15||New York Rangers||NHL||80||5||15||20||42||19||0||1||1||10|
|2015–16||New York Rangers||NHL||77||2||13||15||36||5||0||2||2||4|
|2016–17||New York Rangers||NHL||72||3||7||10||34||12||0||0||0||2|
|2017–18||New York Rangers||NHL||72||1||7||8||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|World Junior Championships|
|Awards and achievements|
|New York Rangers first round draft pick