Marc Staal: 25 and Under

PJ EdelmanCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2008

This is the fourth article in a short series—an in-depth look at the top NY Rangers players who are 25 years of age and younger.

There are three Molinas in baseball, and they all play catcher. 

Yadier Molina plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, and is enjoying his breakout season, hitting at a nice .317. Jose Molina plays (backup) for the pinstripes, holding down the position that Yogi Berra once occupied. Bengie Molina has the most MLB experience and is the most talented offensively, totaling over 1000 hits in almost 11 seasons.

They are brothers, they all play the same position, and they all have made the big time. Now move over!

There are four Staals in the NHL, and they are quickly becoming everyone's favorite hockey family.

The oldest Staal, Eric, has the longest NHL tenure, and is the most talented.  He is a forward for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jordan is quickly coming into this own, and plays center for the 2007-2008 Eastern Conference champions Pittsburgh Penguins.

The newest addition, Jared, scored 49 points in 60 games last year in the OHL, and is expected to make an impact on the Phoenix Coyotes. 

But for Rangers' fans, the most exciting Staal has to be second eldest, Marc.  The departure of Brian Leetch has yet to be filled, and although the club hopes that Wade Redden will carry some of the offensive burden on his defensive shoulders, the highest hopes are stuck to the stick of 21-year-old Marc Staal.

The Ontario native was picked 12th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2005 draft.

Fans have plenty of reasons to be psyched.  For starters, Staal, as mentioned, comes from a family that has frost in their veins.  Four brothers in the NHL?  It seems that their skills are at least partly genetic. 

And Marc himself has demonstrated his abilities.  Staal played an instrumental role for Team Canada in both the 2006 and 2007 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, winning gold both times and Best Tournament Defenseman once (2006).

That's right.  Marc is the only defenseman in the Staal family, fearlessly going against the grain.

The young Ranger made his debut on Oct. 4, 2007, and finished the season with a solid 10 points and plus-two rating in 80 games.  He was also named to his first NHL YoungStars team and played along with budding Rangers star Brandon Dubinsky.

Rangers' fans hope that Staal will play to the high expectations, and repeat a performance similar to his 2005-2006 OHL season's 49 points in 57 games. 

Good news, fans—those days are getting closer with every passing second.



For More "Twenty-Five and Under" check out:

Ryan Callahan

Brandon Dubinsky

Nigel Dawes

Happy reading!