By Brett Crawford
Ok Marc Staal, how much are you worth?
Let’s take a look a few other defensemen of comparable age with comparable roles on their respective teams.
STL – Erik Johnson – Age 22 - $5.2 / 2yrs = $2.6 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 148
Career +/- : -8
09-10 Blocked shots: 77
09-10 Hits: 70
09-10 Time on ice: 21:26 per game average
CHI – Brent Seabrook – Age 25 - $10.5 / 3yrs = $3.5 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 392
Career +/- : 55
09-10 Blocked shots: 153
09-10 Hits: 208
09-10 Time on ice: 23:13 per game average
LAK – Drew Doughty – Age 20 - $10.5 / 3yrs = $3.5 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 163
Career +/- : 3
09-10 Blocked shots: 76
09-10 Hits: 157
09-10 Time on ice: 24:58 per game average
NSH – Shea Weber – Age 24 - $13.5 / 3yrs = $4.5 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 320
Career +/- : 16
09-10 Blocked shots: 106
09-10 Hits: 163
09-10 Time on ice: 23:10 per game average
PIT – Kris Letang – Age 23 - $14 / 4yrs = $3.5 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 217
Career +/- : -10
09-10 Blocked shots: 95
09-10 Hits: 117
09-10 Time on ice: 21:33 per game average
WSH – Mike Green – Age 24 - $21 / 4yrs = $5.25 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 317
Career +/- : 51
09-10 Blocked shots: 105
09-10 Hits: 133
09-10 Time on ice: 25:28 per game average
CHI – Niklass Hjalmersson – Age 23 - $14 / 4yrs = $3.5 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 111
Career +/- : 11
09-10 Blocked shots: 137
09-10 Hits: 59
09-10 Time on ice: 19:39 per game average
NYR – Daniel Girardi – Age 26 - $13.3 / 4yrs = $3.325 cap hit
NHL Games Played: 280
Career +/- : -9
09-10 Blocked shots: 180
09-10 Hits: 178
09-10 Time on ice: 21:28 per game average
NYR – Marc Staal – Age 23 - $ ???
NHL Games Played: 244
Career +/- : 6
09-10 Blocked shots: 97
09-10 Hits: 178
09-10 Time on ice: 23:07 per game average
I’ve included the likes of Mike Green, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty and Brent Seabrook to show what these young, cornerstone players are making right now. I don’t consider Marc Staal on the same level as most of these players, especially Doughty.
But the list underlines the big question: what is Marc Staal worth?
Staal has played in three full NHL seasons, so this is the first time he’s seen an opportunity to work out a new contract.
In 17 playoff games Marc Staal finished second on the team in hits (47) and third in blocked shots (27). Both times finishing behind Daniel Girardi (71 hits, 32 blocked shots) He averaged 22:20 minutes in ice time in 07-08, and 21:32 minutes in 08-09.
Daniel Girardi is three years older, clearly he has had more time to develop as a player. But what infuriates me is the notion that Staal may have rejected upwards of $4 million over four years. If that is true, then I’m sorry to say I’d rather see Staal walk away. Better yet, I’d rather see a desperate team sign him to a massive offer sheet and collect a wheel barrel full of potentially high draft picks (Dallas, Carolina, I’m looking at you two).
I just don’t know what the Rangers think they have with Staal. Will he one day become an offensive force at the blueline? In four OHL seasons, Staal averaged 0.52 points a game, which isn’t too bad. But traditionally, the OHL is a high scoring league and doesn’t typically translate into the same level of offensive output in the NHL. That leaves a defensive defenseman, maybe one of the best in the league. But stats don’t lie, and up to this point, Staal hasn’t been leaps and bounds better than his own teammate Girardi, which would contradict the alleged asking price of $4.5 + from the Staal camp.
Perhaps Staals agents think they have a name brand player in Staal and therefore can command more money. They may be right, but if Sather is smart, he won’t break the bank on Staal yet. At 23, Staal has about four years to go before he becomes an unrestricted free agent (provided he and the Rangers don’t get caught up in an ugly arbitration war next time he’s up for a contract). In those four years, he has a lot to prove to his team. He needs to step up and be a true leader, he needs to start doing anything it takes to stop scoring chances, and he needs to improve his offensive output (if he ever wants more than $4 million a year).
I pray the Rangers are realistic in their expectations of Staals worth, and I hope Staal gets his act together soon and signs a respectable deal.