Detroit Red Wings: Marc Staal was a bright spot in team’s defense core

(Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)
(Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports) /

When the Detroit Red Wings brought in defenseman Marc Staal in a pre-draft trade two seasons ago, I never thought I would be writing something about him outperforming expectations. As a 35-year-old veteran defender going into his 15th year in the league, it seemed a bit out there.

If anything, I anticipated the article incoming about Staal was going to be the Detroit Red Wings parting ways with the veteran defenseman. While it was understood that he served a role here, not to score goals or tally assists but to be a veteran leader and also play defense.

He was awarded an assistant captain “A” on his sweater from the organization and has done an excellent job in 2021-22 of representing that. On top of the fact that he has outperformed expectations.

Whether my expectations were too low or not, it was good to see Staal be a bright spot for the team in the 2021-22 season. There’s room for improvement in the defense core, and seeing the veteran stand out is nice, especially with a young gun in Moritz Seider being there to learn from him.

Marc Staal outperformed expectations in 2021-22 for the Detroit Red Wings.

While he’s not out there competing for a Norris Trophy or even looking like an all-star, he’s outperformed being an ice-time eater who’s there for more of a locker room presence. He has displayed some great qualities off the ice and been a real leader; his on-ice performance was also quite strong.

Staal’s name has appeared more often than many would expect when looking at the scoresheet. He’s added three goals and 13 assists to his credit over 71 games played in 2021-22. It’s the most points he’s scored since the 2014-15 season.

It’s been a minute since he’s been able to tap into any sort of offense, so that was a real plus for his performance. But beyond that, he was a quality presence in the defensive zone. Watching games, it’s easy to see his experience pay off.

He may not be the quickest or out there throwing big hits left and right, but he gets the job done. He’s a defensive asset for the Red Wings and has shown this for the Red Wings during the 2021-22 season.

As it stands, the Red Wings do not have Staal under contract beyond the 2021-22 season. He is an unrestricted free agent. Even with the signing of Simon Edvinsson with hopes he can make the roster, I would not be surprised to see Staal get another deal to stick around.

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He may not be the best option, but he is someone Yzerman can likely rely on to play sound hockey on the team’s third pairing.