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Who is the Rangers #1D?

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Old
08-01-2013, 09:16 PM
  #1
Kwayry
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Who is the Rangers #1D?

This is a good read. Many will agree, plenty will disagree, this guy is spot on as far as I am concerned.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/york-ra...201200081.html

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The Blueshirts' top six is one of the most impressive in the league. Solid through and through, the Rangers can use all three pairings in every situation. Players like John Moore and Anton Stralman may be at the bottom of the pecking order, but both boast immense skating ability, sound defensive instincts and above-average offensive skills.

Further up in the ranking is Michael Del Zotto. Despite his struggles last season, Del Zotto has proved he can handle the rigors of an NHL season; he just needs to work on consistency. When he's at his best, he brings a lot of physicality to the rink and, furthermore, he possesses the skill set to quarterback a power play.

But it's the top three that makes the Rangers' defense corps so special. Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal have all at different times over the past three seasons been the team's go-to, No. 1 defenseman. And seeing as all three are expected to be healthy and ready to go in October, the question is: Which of the three will assume the top-defender role in 2013?
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Dan Girardi

The oldest of the group at 29 years old, Girardi has been the team's No. 1 defenseman for the majority of the last three seasons. After news of Staal's post-concussion syndrome struggles broke in the summer of 2011, Girardi took it upon himself to assume the bulk of the team's defensive responsibilities.

He averaged 26:14 minutes of ice time during the 2011-12 season, playing in all situations, but it was his shutdown ability and shorthanded fortitude that stood out most. An ideal role model, Girardi sacrificed his body every night on the penalty kill, and even finished fifth in the league with 185 blocked shots.

Although he doesn't possess great offensive skill and instinct, Girardi was a participant in the 2012 NHL All-Star game and even finished in sixth in Norris Trophy voting, collecting two first-place votes.

Girardi's performance in 2011-12 made him Tortorella's top choice again in 2013, despite the improved health of Staal. Although his performance during the regular season wasn't as impressive as the previous season's, he made up for it in the playoffs, shutting down Alex Ovechkin and Nik Backstrom in the first round.

It's easy to make the case for Girardi to retain his spot as the No. 1 defenseman for the Rangers in 2013-14, but the arrival of a new coach means nothing is certain. Girardi is certainly one of the league's best shutdown defenseman, and his ability to make a solid first pass out of the zone is also very valuable, but his lack of maneuverability could prove troublesome for Vigneault.

Assuming the new boss wants to play an uptempo style, Girardi could struggle when fetching the puck in his own corner and turning defense into offense quickly, although his first-pass ability may save him here.

He's also the worst skater of the three. If Vigneault wants his No. 1 defenseman to join the rush on a regular basis, he may opt to use Girardi as a complementary No. 2 on the first pairing.

Marc Staal

Two years ago, Staal was far and away the Rangers' best defenseman. He'd come a long way from being a lanky, indecisive and sometimes lethargic teenager and was finally blossoming into one of the league's premier shutdown defensemen.

Upon drafting Staal, the Rangers knew they were selecting a stay-at-home defenseman, but the organization foresaw Staal further developing his offense while also becoming more physical. And they were right.

A lot should be said about Tortorella when dissecting Staal's development. Torts' confidence in the quality of the young defender was what turned Staal into an All-Star. He demanded Staal play a nastier brand of hockey, and whatever motivation tactic Tortorella opted to use worked. Some of Staal's greatest displays of physical hockey have come amidst the grueling battles he's had with some of the league's top-end talent, most notably Ovechkin.

Tortorella also expressed his desire for Staal to join the offensive rush. Although Staal isn't the fastest of skaters, his long legs and superb skating technique allowed him to apply offensive-zone pressure when the opportunity arose. Despite never scoring more than 30 points in a season, Staal is still only 26 years old, and his further development under the supervision of Vigneault could spark more offense.

Staal has missed a lot of time over the past two seasons, and it could take him a while before he gets back into the swing of things again, but he's got the tools to retake his No. 1 defenseman role with the club. Mobility is an advantage he's got over Girardi, as is offensive ability. In terms of shut-down capability, it's probably a wash, but one would assume a coach would like prefer the size of Staal (6-4) to that of Girardi's (6-1).

Staal is the more complete player, and that's what I assume Vigneault will look for in his top defender. The only thing holding Staal back is his lack of playing time the past couple of seasons. But as he showed last season, when he gets back on his game, he's a top defender in this league. I wouldn't expect any less from him in 2013-14, provided he's healthy.

Ryan McDonagh

At 24 years old, McDonagh has played in just 169 NHL games, which is a lot less than both Staal (388) and Girardi (488). But what he lacks in experience he makes up for in potential.

Of the three, McDonagh has the highest ceiling. His skating ability is out of this world. Easily considered one of the league's best skaters, McDonagh uses his strength to his ability by cutting off streaking forwards and using his balance to knock them off the puck. He practically made a living off shutting down Ilya Kovalchuk the past two seasons.

McDonagh also has an ideal attitude. Always looking to improve, McDonagh has put to use all that Tortorella and former assistant coach Mike Sullivan taught him, and he's a better player today because of it. Tortorella entrusted the youngster almost immediately. After playing just 40 games in 2010-11, McDonagh began the 2011-12 season on the top pairing with Girardi.

To truly argue the defensive abilities of McDonagh, Staal and Girardi would be nearly impossible; they're all excellent in a shutdown role. But what McDonagh has that the other two don't have is the latent -- and sometimes not-so -- offensive ability.

McDonagh is a player who I think could let loose under Vigneault. We've seen flashes of brilliance from him when joining the rush under Tortorella, but the former coach's overall reluctance to play an attacking style means McDonagh was limited in terms of offensive-zone time.

This could change under AV.

One thing we know about Vigneault is he plays to his players strengths, and if there's an opportunity to attack and make a play, he lets his players go. This philosophy is ideal for a player with the skating ability and offensive instincts McDonagh possesses. Furthermore, Vigneault wouldn't have to worry about McDonagh making poor decisions on when to join the play, because his on-ice intelligence is one of his best assets.

All of this leads me to believe that even if McDonagh isn't Vigneault's first choice come the beginning of the season, he eventually will be. He's just got too much to offer. It won't be easier for him, though. Girardi and Staal are accomplished All-Stars who've been around the block more times than McDonagh. But there's no arguing with talent, and McDonagh's got it.

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08-01-2013, 09:27 PM
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McD but Staal had a bad stretch with missed time and so who knows if he was healthy what my opinion would be.

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08-01-2013, 09:51 PM
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I still hope that one day Marc Staal will play in the NHL like he played in his final year at Sudbury; a man on-fire. Hopefully he feels 100% come September and AV can utilize him to his fullest extent. I don't think the article gives Staal enough credit for his skating. Or rather, perhaps they really wanted to praise McD's. #1 is up for grabs IMO

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08-01-2013, 09:55 PM
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When everyone is healthy, Marc Staal is our #1.

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08-01-2013, 10:04 PM
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Staal probably would have been a ~40 point defenseman the past two seasons had it not been for the injuries. If you think about it 29 points in 77 games with Dubinsky as your highest scoring forward is pretty impressive . This guy ain't no Regehr.

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08-01-2013, 10:17 PM
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McD, not even close

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08-01-2013, 10:24 PM
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This is the second best problem a team could have, right behind having too many #1Cs.

Based on showings over the last two seasons, McDonagh is no doubt the best defenseman on the team. However, Staal missed most of both years, and wrestled with injuries when he was able to be on the ice, so that's certainly a huge asterisk.

Girardi is a rock, but IMO, in a great defense, he's a good #2 guy, who's also good enough to step up and be an okay #1 in a pinch. When/if Staal and McD are both playing their best games at the same time, either could be an absolute #1 guy in a great defense. Having both of them on their games at once will be a fantastic privilege that this team will enjoy moving forward.

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08-01-2013, 10:50 PM
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Staal at his best was better than McD has been so far.

McD is obviously still developing, but he still has to improve to surpass a healthy Staal in my mind. Whether we will ever again see a 100% Staal is, of course, a question we'd all like an answer to....

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08-01-2013, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n8 View Post
I still hope that one day Marc Staal will play in the NHL like he played in his final year at Sudbury; a man on-fire. Hopefully he feels 100% come September and AV can utilize him to his fullest extent. I don't think the article gives Staal enough credit for his skating. Or rather, perhaps they really wanted to praise McD's. #1 is up for grabs IMO
I would say that if you have three players that you can consider a number one dman it's a good sign. We haven't seen a healthy Marc Staal in two years now. I think this could quite possibly be his comeback year. If all three are healthy we have one hell of a d core.

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08-01-2013, 11:15 PM
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Is there a practical difference between who's number one and who's number two on the top pairing? It's not like they're designated roles. There's some question to which of McDonagh and Staal gets paired with Girardi, but the most important thing is for all of them to be healthy. If that happens, the defense will flourish.

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08-01-2013, 11:20 PM
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Idk, Del Zotto can't hit the net and has mashed potatoes for brains.

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08-01-2013, 11:47 PM
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McD is best for long term since he's only 24. But on just talent Staal or McD

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08-01-2013, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Idk, Del Zotto can't hit the net and has mashed potatoes for brains.
That's just wrong. And the numbers don't bear it out.
He has missed less shots than more established Dman that these boards rave about. Take a look.

He has 41 missed shots, ranked #24.
Behind
Dan Boyle (57)
Pieterangelo (57)
Big Buff (56)
Doughty (55)
Yandle (55)
Chara (54)
Weber (52)
Edler (47)
Voynov (45)
Zidlicky (45)
OEL (45)
Jack Johnson (42)
PK Subban (42)
Carlsson (41)
Shultz (41)
Shattenkirk (40)

So before you recycle a meme repeatedly posted on the GDT, check the numbers.
Attached Images
File Type: png Dman_MissedShots_12_13.png‎ (269.3 KB, 17 views)

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08-01-2013, 11:54 PM
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"Recycling a meme"? Are we really going to argue about Del Zotto's accuracy? He also happens to have one of the worst shooting percentages on that list at 3.7%.

I mean, no one on the team can hit the net (except Brassard and his sidekick John Moore ).

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08-01-2013, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil View Post
Is there a practical difference between who's number one and who's number two on the top pairing? It's not like they're designated roles. There's some question to which of McDonagh and Staal gets paired with Girardi, but the most important thing is for all of them to be healthy. If that happens, the defense will flourish.
That's an excellent point. And actually supports the point that Girardi is more valuable than either. Even though both are better Dmen.

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08-01-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
"Recycling a meme"? Are we really going to argue about Del Zotto's accuracy? He also happens to have one of the worst shooting percentages on that list at 3.7%.
Yes we are.
If you dig a little deeper and watch the games more carefully, DZ is trying to pick corners because there is no slot presence to screen the goalie. Hence the low shooting percentage.

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08-02-2013, 12:01 AM
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Yes we are.
If you dig a little deeper and watch the games more carefully, DZ is trying to pick corners because there is no slot presence to screen the goalie. Hence the low shooting percentage.
Yeah, and he always missed.

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08-02-2013, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Yeah, and he always missed.
Not as often as the other more established Dmen in that list.
The numbers speak for themselves, you can refuse to accept them and go with your opinion.

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08-02-2013, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kwayry View Post
Not as often as the other more established Dmen in that list.
The numbers speak for themselves, you can refuse to accept them and go with your opinion.
Ok here's an example of how misleading that is when you only post one stat.

Yandle had 55 missed shots, but he also had 130 taken, (MDZ had 81 taken) 10 goals, and 7.7%. You shouldn't be showing 'shots missed', you should be showing 'shots missed % in relation to shots taken'.

Also, I fail to see how Del Zotto's awful shooting percentage doesn't support my argument. 3.7%, yeah, he's a real sniper out there. I'm not saying he can't improve it, nor that our awful PP was his fault.

I personally think Stralman and Moore were much better shooting options on the PP, but Moore was obviously a short sample size, so we'll see next season.


Last edited by Aufheben: 08-02-2013 at 12:30 AM.
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08-02-2013, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Ok here's an example of how misleading that is when you only post one stat.

Yandle had 55 missed shots, but he also had 130 taken, (MDZ had 81 taken) 10 goals, and 7.7%. You shouldn't be showing 'shots missed', you should be showing 'shots missed % in relation to shots taken'.

Also, I fail to see how Del Zotto's awful shooting percentage doesn't support my argument. 3.7%, yeah, he's a real sniper out there. I'm not saying he can't improve it, nor that our awful PP was his fault.
And my argument still stands, looking at these shooting %
Harmonic at 3.6%
Gonchar at 3.5%
Duncan Keith at 3.3%
OEL at 3.0%

The boards rave about OEL, I never read you or anybody else complain about his shooting percentage.

DZ has produced 37+ points in 3 out of his 4 years in the league, yet doesn't get the respect he deserves because some on this board decided he is the whipping boy in vogue, and keep repeating the non sense of "he misses the net and has no hockey IQ" based on no facts whatsoever.

IMO it says a lot more about them than about DZ.

Edit: Interestingly enough, We are discussing Girardi, Staal and McDonagh, but you found a way to sneak your meme about DZ in here.

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08-02-2013, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Kwayry View Post
And my argument still stands, looking at these shooting %
Harmonic at 3.6%
Gonchar at 3.5%
Duncan Keith at 3.3%
OEL at 3.0%

The boards rave about OEL, I never read you or anybody else complain about his shooting percentage.

DZ has produced 37+ points in 3 out of his 4 years in the league, yet doesn't get the respect he deserves because some on this board decided he is the whipping boy in vogue, and keep repeating the non sense of "he misses the net and has no hockey IQ" based on no facts whatsoever.

IMO it says a lot more about them than about DZ.
My point was that he doesn't have all the tools right now to be a PPQB. I am far from the only one that holds this opinion, (and it being a popular opinion doesn't make it wrong). Brian Boyle was the whipping boy, and I defended him at every chance. I had my gripes with Torts also, but I defended him also when I thought he wasn't in the wrong. I think I've given relatively neutral opinions about this team, (except Brassard, of course), not everyone who disagrees with you is just "repeating memes".

Stats don't lie, but they are easily misconstrued. How can you rate hockey IQ based on facts? You can't base your opinion solely on stats either, because they don't tell the whole story. It's not your stats I refuse, it's your way of using them.

Anyway thanks for the article, I did agree with it's general points.


Last edited by Aufheben: 08-02-2013 at 01:15 AM.
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08-02-2013, 01:04 AM
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That's an excellent point. And actually supports the point that Girardi is more valuable than either. Even though both are better Dmen.
There's no way Girardi's more valuable than either one when he's older, not as good, and not under contract beyond this season.

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08-02-2013, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Kwayry View Post
Interestingly enough, We are discussing Girardi, Staal and McDonagh, but you found a way to sneak your meme about DZ in here.
Yep it's all part of the master plan to degrade Del Zotto's HFBoards image. Sorry for actually reading the article you posted and disagreeing with one minor part of it. Maybe I should have went against the grain and simply agreed with every word of it.

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08-02-2013, 01:23 AM
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This really needs to be a poll.

In a vacuum, when everyone is healthy, Staal is our best overall defenseman. The best potential for the future belongs to McDonagh, whom I believe can suppose Staal very soon. The most instrumental to the team's success is Girardi, since he's the only RHD out of the three.

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08-02-2013, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Stats don't lie, but they are easily misconstrued. How can you rate hockey IQ based on facts? You can't base your opinion solely on stats either, because they don't tell the whole story. It's not your stats I refuse, it's your way of using them.

Anyway thanks for the article, I did agree with it's general points.
It's your right to dispute how i use stats, but i at least use them. It seems to me, you base your opinion on DZ on no stats at all, but based on what is popular on these boards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Anyway thanks for the article, I did agree with it's general points.
You are welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil View Post
There's no way Girardi's more valuable than either one when he's older, not as good, and not under contract beyond this season.
Girardi is the only 1 of the 3 who can play the top pairing RD, either Staal or McDnagh can play the LD. That makes him more valuable, eventhough they are better Dmen than he is.

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