Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal is coming off his first season in the Motor City, and while he’s on the back end of his career, he’s open to extending his stay in the Mitten State longer.
He appeared in all 56 regular season games during the 2020-21 NHL season, one of only two players on Detroit’s roster to do so.
“He’s a great pro in a lot of different ways,” coach Jeff Blashill said of Staal late in the regular season. “He’s a warrior. He plays through injuries and is out there on days where as an older player, potentially, could ask for maybe a practice off.
“He demands that he goes out there.”
The veteran scored three goals with seven assists along with a -5 plus/minus rating, but it was his leadership in the locker room that served the team best.
And with the vast potential of 2019 1st round draft selection Moritz Seider, Staal appeared to be intrigued as to the possibility of being paired with the young German and serving as a mentor.
“I don’t know him at all,” Staal said of Seider. “I’ve heard a bunch of good things over the last year. My best fit is playing with a skilled, right-hand shot defenseman (which Seider is, as Staal is a lefty) where I can make them feel as comfortable as possible, making plays, and be there in position for them.
“Communication is huge on the ice, talking, and I try to do that as much as possible with whoever I’m playing with. It helps some more with a young defenseman finding his way.”
According to Staal, the Red Wings are close to being a playoff team, which could play into his decision on whether or not to return should a contract extension be tendered by GM Steve Yzerman.
“I honestly don’t think we were far off from sniffing around the playoffs this year,” Staal said. “COVID kind of crushed us early and then we had some injuries along the way, and we were still able to put out a pretty solid effort.
“The future is bright for this organization. I can tell just being around the rink, the way things are being run, I think it’s all going in the right direction.”
– – Quotes via Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News Link – –