Calling Eric Staal; Where have you been?

Bobby Bevilacqua

eric staal full body profile 2-29

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Eric Staal was acquired at the trade deadline to be a playoff hero, but so far against the Penguins, he’s been a playoff zero.

Staal, 31, was traded to the Rangers for two second round picks and highly touted Finnish prospect Aleksi Saarela. The Hurricanes captain had been having a bit of a down season, scoring just 33 points (10-23-33) in 63 games with Carolina. His underlying numbers looked fantastic though, owning a career high Corsi For percentage, and it seemed like his scoring troubles were due to a lack of talent on the Hurricanes.

When he got to the Rangers, things didn’t improve all that much. He collected just six points (3-3-6) in 20 games, scoring in just four of them. Staal spent almost all of his time on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast.

One of the main reasons why Jeff Gorton sent a big package to Carolina for the former captain was because of his playoff success. Before this year, Staal had scored 43 points (19-24-43) in 43 playoff games, capturing a Stanley Cup Championship in 2006 and making the Eastern Conference Championship back in 2009.

So where on earth has he been so far?

In four playoff games this year, with the Rangers now on the brink of elimination, Eric Staal has been nowhere to be found, recording no points and owning a team worst -6 rating. To put that into perspective, rookie Brady Skjei has an assist and a +1 rating, and Tanner Glass has an even plus/minus rating. Even his brother, Marc, who has had some terrible moments this playoffs, has an assist and a -1 rating.

Eric Staal has not only been mostly invisible for 320 minutes of hockey, he’s been bad in general. Despite getting favorable defensive matchups on the third line and still playing with capable linemates, Staal has not been able to do anything.

A lot of the pressure fell on Rick Nash, and for the most part, he has delivered, tying the team lead with three points (1-2-3) in four games. What’s better is that he’s spread out the scoring, collecting a point in three different games. His contributions went to waste due to things like a terrible penalty kill and poor defending.

But Staal has not lived up to his potential and has not done what the Rangers acquired him for. No scoring, lackluster defending, and no impact on the game.

If the Rangers lose this series and Staal winds up doing nothing, this could wind up being one of the worst trades in recent memory for the Blueshirts. Staal has contributed nothing down the stretch or in the playoffs, and the team is now without Saarela and two first round picks.

Staal needs a monster Game 5, and he’ll have to turn back the clocks and play like its 2006 again.

Posted on April 22, 2016, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nash is a team captain, your article fails to speak of any other top and bottom six Snipers! If Eric was still in his prime he might still have been with the Canes, but that’s yesterdays news!

    I am a Canes fan who used to be a Rangers fan! Because my Canes are not at the Dance this year I have been watching your games and hope you can put that Cup over your heads as Mark Messier had! Last night the team as a whole failed Henrik Lundqvist How can your defense allow Crosby to sit and remain in a rocking chair just off the goal crease?

    Rick Nash has 3 points in this dance and your writer says that is a high point. Guys and gals stop with the lame excuses and racing to choose to blame a patsy and BEAT the Pens and get into the next round! You can loose as a team or Win as a team I prefer the latter!


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