Staal came in at No. 19 among defensemen, with Sam McCaig saying the Thunder Bay, On.-native is turning into a very physical defenseman. “Physical rearguard is blending in some offense to his no-nonsense game,” said McCaig.
The King came ranked at No. 3 for goaltenders: “Give Captain Shutout a goal, and he gives you a victory.”
A pair of Boston Bruins topped both lists, with Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas given top-honors.Staal is turning into one of the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL, but still lacks much in terms of offensive upside, though he showed some improvements last season, especially on the power play. The Rangers have a very young defensive group, and rely heavily on Staal to carry the workload, the the 24-year-old has stepped up. He made his first All Star game last season, and the Rangers no doubt hope he has several more coming up.
Simply put, Henrik Lundqvist is an elite goaltender in the NHL, and his lack of a Vezina nomination last season was absurd. The King led the NHL with 11 shutouts and broke 30 wins for the sixth consecutive season, the first goaltender to do so in the first six seasons of a career. The Rangers are building a contender, but will still only go as far as Lundqvist brings them.
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