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New York Rangers’ Player Grades, Part 5

February 25th, 2014 at 5:39 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

'Marc Staal' photo (c) 2011, Anna Enriquez - license: NHL games finally drawing near, let's finish up our look at the New York Rangers' defense Corp, with an examination of Marc Staal, John Moore, and Kevin Klein.

Marc Staal

When Marc Staal came into camp healthy at long last, played well in the preseason, and scored the Rangers' lone goal in the season opener, there was talk of the 27-year old taking the proverbial step up to the ranks of the leagues elite blueliners. That chatter hasn't come to fruition just yet. It's not as if Staal has played poorly–that's far from the case–but the hope was that with Alain Vigneault taking the shackles off his defenseman, Staal would see an uptick in his offensive production, much like Ryan McDonagh. With just 11 points so far, that hasn't happened, but Staal remains a very solid top-4 defenseman, who on many teams would be pushing for an even larger role. He's been a little bit up and down–lights out some games, a tad mistake prone others–but by and large, when healthy, Staal remains a defensive force on the Rangers' blueline. B

John Moore

Moore has the raw talent–no one's denying that–but it remains to be seen if he'll ever put it all together. The 23-year old has McDonagh-esque ability–good size, tremendous speed, a hard shot–but is somewhat of an enigma. At times, the former Blue Jacket appears to be trying to do far too much–attempting to beat men one-on-one on the rush, trying to squeeze passes into non-existent windows–while at others he's invisible. The task for Moore is to find the happy middle ground between the two extremes. He's been serviceable in his role as a third pair defenseman for the most of the year, but, while Moore will likely never put up monster offensive numbers, the talent is certainly there to be more than he is now. B-

Kevin Klein

The 7 games Klein has spent as Ranger probably don't rank among his best ever. Klein hasn't been bad, but he's looked very much like a player adjusting to a new role on a new team for the first time in his 8-year career, which was spent entirely with Nashville before January. The 29-year old is used to top-4 minutes–something he is not and likely won't be getting with the Blueshirts (15:24 per game so far)–and is in the midst of adjusting to a new system and coach after spending his entire career playing under the defensive minded Barry Trotz. As Blueshirts' fans now know after the team's sluggish start, getting comfortable in a new system isn't always easy, and Klein has been victimized on several occasions thus far in his young Rangers' career, but the hope is, as he settles in, his historically steady level of play will return. Incomplete/C+


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Tags: Alain Vigneault, Barry Trotz, Hockey, John Moore, Kevin Klein, Marc Staal, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Ryan McDonagh

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