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Marc Staal
Marcstaal.png
Born January 13, 1987 (1987-01-13) (age 30)
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
NHL team New York Rangers
National team Flag of Canada.svg Canada
NHL Draft 12th overall, 2005
New York Rangers
Playing career 2005–present

Marc Staal (born on January 13, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman and alternate captain for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.

He is the younger brother of Eric Staal and the older brother of Jordan Staal, both of the Carolina Hurricanes (Eric being captain and Jordan an alternate), and Jared Staal, who plays in the Hurricanes organization. Of the four Staal brothers, Marc is the only defenceman.

Early Playing CareerEdit

Marc grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario and was a minor hockey teammate of future NHL'ers Tom Pyatt, Ryan Parent and Taylor Chorney with the Thunder Bay Kings AAA program.

Marc was selected 2nd overall in the 2003 OHL Priority Selection by the Sudbury Wolves after a solid season with the Minor Midget Kings. He played junior hockey from 2003–2007 for the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League where he was the team's captain and led the Wolves to their first trip to the OHL finals in 30 years.

Marc was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2005 NHL Entry Draft in the 1st round, 12th pick overall. While most NHL scouts had projected Staal to be a top-10 selection, he fell in the draft and the Rangers, seeing him available even after the 11th pick was made, made a bold draft day trade to move up.

In exchange for Altanta's 12th overall selection (which they obtained from San Jose), the Rangers dealt the Thrashers both its 16th and 41st picks. Marc played for Team Canada in the 2006 and 2007 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships bringing home gold both times. He was named the tournament's top defenceman in the 2006 Championships.

Marc and his younger brother Jared played together in Sudbury during 2006–07. On May 7, 2007, the Ontario Hockey League 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 the likes of future NHL players such as Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin.

On May 13, 2007, although his Sudbury team lost the OHL Championship Series to Plymouth in six games, Marc was named the winner of the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award which goes to the league's postseason MVP.

NHL Playing CareerEdit

On October 4, 2007, Marc made his NHL debut for the New York Rangers, and head coach Tom Renney, who would use him in that first season primarily in a defensive role. He would record his first NHL point against the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2007, when Chris Drury deflected his shot in for a goal, giving Marc an assist.

Marc 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, Marc was one of sixteen 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. He finished his rookie season with 10 points on the strength of 2 goals and 8 assists.

More importantly, Marc 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 5 games during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

The goal was important - in the pivotal Game 4, Marc'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 games to 1 lead in the series.

Like Marc's first regular season goal, it also came against goalie Martin Brodeur. However, despite their win over the Devils in the Conference Quarterfinal, the Rangers would fall to the eventual Stanley Cup runner-up Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

In 2008-09, Marc improved his offensive output to 15 points, scoring 3 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 offense from all of his players, including Marc. As a result, much of Marc'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 9 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, Marc 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 the Canadian Olympic men's ice hockey team competing in 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.

Meanwhile, now in his third year, Staal began to transition into more of a two-way role for the Rangers during 2009-10 as the development of his offense continued under Coach Tortorella. Marc enjoyed the first four-game point streak of his career (1 goal, 3 assists). Though the Rangers would miss the playoffs for the first time in Marc's career, he would establish new career highs with 8 goals, 19 assists, 27 points and a career best +11 rating during the season.

Marc saved his finest for late in the year, scoring a beautiful coast-to-coast goal against Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen on April 3, 2010, after receiving the puck from teammate Henrik Lundqvist in the defensive zone. For Marc, 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, losing 2-1 in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers, who took the eighth and final playoff spot from the Rangers. Marc 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 New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather were often slow, he signed a five-year, $19.875 million extension for the team on September 15, 2010. After a strong training camp, Rangers Coach John Tortorella recognized Staal's leadership qualities in October of 2010 by naming him an alternate captain at the age of 23.

During the 2010-2011 season, Marc 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. Marc tied Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers for most shorthanded goals among defensemen, with 2.

On February 22, 2011, in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Marc 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, but it was revealed before the Rangers' 2011 training camp began that he was suffering from post-concussion symptoms. He did not play until January 2, 2012 in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers.

In Game 5 against the Washington Capitals, Marc scored the overtime goal to defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2. During a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, in New York City, on March 5, 2013, Staal suffered an eye injury.

A slap-shot by Flyers defenceman, Kimmo Timonen was deflected by his teammate Jakub Voracek and a puck hit Marc in his right eye, sending him sprawling to the ice. After the game, it was concluded that he suffered a small retinal tear in his right eye and an orbital fracture.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2003–04 Sudbury Wolves OHL 61 1 13 14 34 7 1 2 3 2
2004–05 Sudbury Wolves OHL 65 6 20 26 53 12 0 4 4 15
2005–06 Sudbury Wolves OHL 57 11 38 49 60 10 0 8 8 8
2005–06 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 12 0 2 2 8
2006–07 Sudbury Wolves OHL 53 5 29 34 68 21 5 15 20 22
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
NHL totals 388 24 73 97 230 43 5 6 11 20

Playing StyleEdit

Marc is an excellent skater and defender. Defensively, he is an adept shot blocker, and penalty killer. Offensively, he is a smart passer who makes the intelligent plays to his teammates.

Due to his skating ability, Marc often tries to join 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 offense 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 bursting onto the NHL scene, the New York Rangers coaching staff 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.

Marc is also known for his hard open-ice body checks. Staal has thrown many hard open-ice hits into well-known NHL players, including Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, his brother Jordan Staal, Mike Comrie and Mike Knuble. One of his hardest hits was delivered on Calgary's Matt Stajan in November of 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 2010-2011 season that banned blindside hits to the head. However, reviews of the play indicated the principal point of contact had been the shoulder. Marc (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 Marc 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 (defenseman 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."

Personal LifeEdit

On August 12, 2011, Marc married his longtime girlfriend Lindsay Ruggles. It is rumored the couple are expecting their first child in 2014.

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