Staal nearing a return, who sits?

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Marc Staal is nearing a return after ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago. David Quinn says he’s itching to get his veteran defender back in, but who sits? Let’s discuss.

First things first, Staal plays the left side so the three candidates to see a game in street clothes are as follows:

  1. Brady Skjei
  2. Libor Hajek
  3. Ryan Lindgren

Who to Scratch?

Staal last played on 11/7, so how have the three candidates fared since he went down? Skjei has 4 points in 9 games with a -2 rating, but is now paired with Jacob Trouba as the Rangers top unit and is least likely to be scratched.

That leaves Hajek and Lindgren to take a seat for the veteran. Hajek has 3 assists with and even rating, meanwhile Lindgren has 1 goal and 4 assists with a +2 over the same 9 game span. However, numbers alone aren’t enough to make this decision and the truth is none of them deserve to be scratched.

David Quinn is going to have a hard choice to make, but he can’t deny the fact that Ryan Lindgren has emerged as the team’s best left defenseman. And with Skjei’s play picking up, Libor Hajek will be the odd man out.

What about none of them sits?

The Rangers could opt to dress and play 7 defenders. Now I don’t believe that makes a lot of sense, but it could ease Staal back into the lineup. That means not having a full 4th line, but could help give kids like Kakko, and Lemieux some extra shifts.

Again, this is just an idea and a legit option on the table. Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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