5 Most Injury-Prone NY Rangers
When Marc Staal took a puck to the face earlier this month, America started talking about hockey and whether visors should be mandated, but conversations amongst Rangers fans specifically were about how the Rangers would cope without Staal, a player who missed nearly half of last season with a concussion.
Losing a key player to injury, like Staal, can derail a season, and a player with a long history of injuries often loses millions in contract money because of their fragile reputation.
For the purpose of this list, injury history starts with a rookie season in the NHL, so a lot of younger players who are in their third season or before have either been mostly healthy since turning pro, or injuries have prevented them from gaining recognition. For example, I won't consider someone like Michael Sauer for this list.
But let's look at five current and contributing Rangers with the most worrisome history of injuries, concluding with the most injury-prone Ranger.
I would not describe Ryan Callahan as injury-prone.
I would describe Ryan Callahan as someone who sacrifices his body to benefit the team.
During a game, Callahan treats his body the way an omelet chef treats an egg shell, and that approach to winning has caused some broken bones and contusion over the years.
He's one of the best shot blockers in the league and sometimes those blocks do have consequences. Callahan has missed time for a broken wrist, and on several occassions with a bruised foot.
Callahan has played an average of 71 games over the past three seasons, so that can hardly be described as injury-prone.
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The fact that this list includes Callahan and Rick Nash is a testament to how healthy Rangers players have been over their careers, or how young a lot of the team is.
Nash spent nine full seasons in Columbus absorbing every teams' best slashes, trips and checks, and he played at least 74 games in eight of those seasons, a very impressive record of durability.
2005 was the only year that Nash had to miss extended time with injuries.
Nash's size and speed does help him avoid injury, but he is new to Tortorella's emphasis on shot blocking.
I already feel like I'm sending out bad karma putting Nash on this list.
This is Taylor Pyatt's 12th season in the NHL.
In the previous 11 seasons, Pyatt's greatest total for games played was 79 in the 2007-08 campaign.
Pyatt is new to the Rangers, so fans don't really feel a connection to Pyatt or his style of play just yet, but he has played in every game so far this season.
If Pyatt can stay healthy for the rest of the season, he will be an important role player and contributor down the stretch.
Marc Staal does not deserve the label injury-prone. He and his brothers pride themselves on being tough, and no one is questioning Staal's toughness.
It's unlucky more than anything else that Staal missed 36 games last season with a bad concussion and he is out indefinitely right now due to his recent gruesome facial injury.
Prior to last season, Staal was a model for durability. His first four seasons with the Rangers, Staal played 80, 82, 82 and 77 games, respectively.
We all hope to see Staal back on the ice soon, and wearing a visor.
Last season, Marian Gaborik played 82 games for the only time in his career.
Over his 11 full seasons in the NHL, Gaborik's five longest absences due to injury have been 11 games, 12 games, 27 games, 34 games and 38 games.
Those absences have been for different injuries, so there does not seem to be one recurring problem that affects Gaborik, but something has forced him to miss a few games nearly every season.
If the Rangers are seriously exploring his trade value, Gaborik will need to show that he is healthy and still a dangerous offensive player.