Klein was easily the most consistent defenseman for the Rangers.
Klein defends well and has quietly added some offensive flair to his game over the past couple of seasons. In fact, he matched his career-high numbers from last season with 9 goals and 17 assists.
While it wouldn’t affect his grade, Klein has proven to be injury-prone, but that is a result of his willingness to block just about any shot.
Unfortunately, his 2015-16 story is not all cherries and roses.
Klein’s broken thumb, partnered with increased minutes as a result of Ryan McDonagh’s injuries, would eventually catch up with him.
Klein was basically invisible for the last quarter of the season. Strong defensive positioning was slowly replaced by blown coverage and a blatant lack of production when the team needed it most.
The 2011-12 lockout season aside, Marc Staal posted the worst possession numbers of his career (CF 44.8%), and it showed.
The once brick-wall defenseman is now a liability.
Staal’s reputation for being a crease clearing defensive-defenseman has now been replaced by a that of a stick-checking player that often allows his opponents to stand in front of the Ranger goalie unabated.
If I had to guess, I would say that John Tortorella’s grinding and shot-blocking style has finally caught up with Staal, who has seemed to age before our very eyes.
Yes, Staal hasn’t been able to train over the past few summer due to copious injuries, and while it’s possible he may be more effective next year, I just don’t see it happening.
Staal has been a large part of the Rangers’ core for the past nine seasons, and while his play improved marginally towards the end of the season, it was much too little and far too late.