No one really knew what to expect from Marc Staal this preseason. He declared that he was 100 percent healthy and was ready to get back at it, and through three preseason games he’s certainly backed up his talk.
The New York Rangers have struggled a little bit in the preseason, but Staal hasn’t struggled one bit. He has been the team’s best player so far. Most people will remember that Staal’s career was put in jeopardy by the gruesome eye injury he suffered early last year. Many people were wondering if Staal was ever going to be able to lace up the skates again.
But Staal is back and has looked awesome in his first three preseason games. He even has a goal scoring streak going having scored a goal in his last two games. He looks like his confidence is back. Before Staal was injured he was playing some of the best hockey of his career, and now he looks like he is ready to take his game to another level. He has looked great so far on both ends of the ice. With Alain Vigneault encouraging his defenseman to get more involved it appears that Staal will shine under this new style of play. Staal has always had offensive talent but was never really encouraged to use it under John Tortorella‘s defense-first system. Staal has a great shot from the point that should come up really big this year on the power play.
If Staal can continue to get better during the season he is all but a lock for an All-Star selection. If he can transform himself into a two way defenseman, people might start to murmur about Staal as a Norris Trophy candidate.