Alec Martinez may be too expensive for New York Rangers; what about Marc Staal

marc staal
Marc Staal (NHLI/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers will be looking to add a veteran blue-liner to the lineup for next season. They want a legit defender that can play important minutes in a pinch and help this young group get to the next level. A modicum of toughness is a must and the ability to be able to play both ends of the ice well. Having won a Stanley Cup or two would be a plus.

That’s why many feel unrestricted free agent defenseman Alec Martinez would be a great fit.

Alec Martinez would be perfect on the Rangers but…

The Vegas Golden Knights defenseman, would be a perfect addition to this young Rangers blue-line. He is a proven winner. A fact the Blueshirts fanbase knows all too well after he ended the team’s Stanley Cup dreams in 2014.

The left defender will be 34 years-old when free agency opens on July 28. This season he racked up 32 points in 53 games with a solid +26 rating in Vegas. He did so by averaging 22:34 minutes a game, that would be second to only Adam Fox’s 24:42 this past season.

alec martinez
Apr 28, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (23) knocks the puck out of the air against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Locher/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Not only can the 6-1 and 209 lb blue-liner pick up points, he does something most other Ranger defensemen don’t. He block shots.

Martinez’ 168 blocks would lead the Rangers by a staggering amount. Let me frame it this way, he has 7 more blocks than the defense pairing of Jacob Trouba (84) and K’Andre Miller (77) combined. Martinez also has 16 more blocks than Fox (102) and Ryan Lindgren (52) as a unit.

Martinez checks all the boxes the Rangers are looking for except one; cost.

He just came off an amazing run for Vegas picking up 4 goals and six points in 19 postseason games. He did this while playing 22:32 solid minutes a night. There’s also some rumblings that the Knights want to keep him and he would love to stay. If any team will get a discount, it’s them. Otherwise, Martinez is going to be in the market for about three years and $5 million or more.

That may be too big of a term and cap hit to take on.

A Reunion with Marc Staal

If the the Rangers would still like to add some affordable veteran leadership to the defense they could look to a familiar face. The 34 year-old Marc Staal played 13 seasons on Broadway and was teammates with Drury from 2007-2011.

Yes, I know some in the fan base read the headline alone and began angrily losing their minds. Some may be even looking to send me hate mail or tweets, but Staal played very well on a very bad Red Wings team. Both he and GM Steve Yzerman have already had discussions on a possible new deal in Detroit.

Staal was a leader when he was here and the young Rangers took to calling him “Legend” for what he meant to them on and off the ice. He easily assumed that role in Detroit this past season.

“There’s times during the season or during a game where things can start getting away from you,” Staal said. “I’ve been on teams where maybe it doesn’t go well for you the first 20 (games) and that’s that, you kind of fold up and start to think about the next (season). I was just trying to make sure we stayed consistent and (kept) working hard no matter what the circumstance was. I’ve been around a while, so any hope or positivity I can bring throughout a game I was willing to do that.”

MLIVE

I’m sure there are other options, but I would not rule out bringing back Marc Staal as one of them. The Rangers considered 44 year-old Zdeno Chara at one point, and Staal is certainly younger than he. It’s just something consider if other options fail to pan out.

NHL News

Looks like the Lightning will have to go into Game 7 without the playoffs leading scorer. Read more.