Staal is the younger brother of Carolina Hurricane standout Eric, and the older brother of Jordan, who was selected 2nd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. A fourth brother, Jared, was chosen 11th overall by the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL Priority Draft in May 2006, and is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft this coming June.
Marc was selected 2nd overall in the 2003 OHL Priority Draft, after which he signed an education contract and immediately joined the Sudbury Wolves. Since then, the Rangers’ prospect has won a gold medal with Team Ontario in the 2003-04 Under 17 championships, a gold medal for Team Canada in August of 2004 in the U18 tournament, and two gold medals in the U20 World Junior Championships. He has also played in the Canada-Russia Challenge, the 2005 Top Prospects Game, and three times in the OHL All-Star Game.
After a four-year junior career, Staal began his professional hockey this fall. After an up and down pre-season, the Rangers decided to keep Staal on the roster and allow him to learn the professional game on the job. For the most part, he has done so, quickly adjusting to the pace of the NHL game and improving his positioning as the seaosn has gone along. His stickwork is outstanding, and the Rangers have used him in all situations thus far.
Staal has the size and reach to be an imposing defenseman at any level. He has been successful shutting down offensemen in his age group, and has the skill, smarts, and great work ethic to be a top blueliner in the professional ranks. He currently plays as the number four defenseman on the Rangers, but he is expected to become a top pair defenseman over the next year.
Staal has the ability to be a star defenseman in the NHL. Although thighly outed for his defensive skills, Staal also has the potential to contribute to the Rangers' offense in a significant way. He has begun to use his heavy shot more consistently and to lead the rush where he can.