Thread: News Article: Who is the Rangers #1D?
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08-13-2013, 09:00 PM
Blue Seat Spartan
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Originally Posted by Jabroni View Post
Staal is the best open ice checking defenseman we have, and he's very good at it.

Stralman does not shy away from contact either and can mix in a hip check every once in a while.
Originally Posted by Drewbackatu View Post
Staal a top physical shutdown defenseman in the league? Staal and Stralman together a physical shutdown pair?

Gotta agree to disagree with you on both points and there are quite a few defensemen throughout the league that I would categorize as more physical than Marc Staal is.
In fact, all of our defensemen are basically clones of one another with all of them falling into the finesse category.
Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Staal - Stralman would make a physical shutdown line with some offense. Hip checks for everyone!
If you think about it, the Rangers' Top Trio bears a SLIGHT resemblance to the Big Three of the 70s dynasty Montreal Canadiens. Note the emphasis beforehand:

Staal = Larry Robinson
McDonagh = Serge Savard
Girardi = Guy Lapointe

And Stralman = Bill Nyrop, Brian Engblom

This might be stretching hyperbole-wise, but the skill set provides a basis for comparison. The top two defensemen are respectively: a stud who can stand up to the best forwards with superb positioning, while adding physicality when necessary, and the other a fleet-footed puck mover who can skate like the wind and get in on the play at both ends of the rink. And the third rearguard can be paired with either of the 1-1A defensemen and not look out of place. Not to be left out, the fourth defenseman can act as the utility guy who can stay hidden on the bottom pairing but can move into the top four when situations warrant it...

The big difference is that the Rangers don't have the HOF-caliber scorer up front like Guy Lafleur or the perennial Selke-worthy defensive game of Bob Gainey (Hagelin might someday, just not now).

That said, the Rangers are well-built from the net (Lundqvist) on out to the blue line. And while lacking a second stud of a scorer after trading Gaborik, they do have the depth at forward to throw four lines at the opposition. The key is improving the transition game, which the trio of Staal, McDonagh, and Girardi are capable of initiating. The mobility and defensive awareness among them should enable that type of complete three-zone game that is a standard for success in the modern NHL.

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