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Update: Why Veteran Marc Staal Signed With Flyers

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Marc Staal

The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Marc Staal to a one-year contract the team announced Monday, adding a veteran presence on the blue line.

Staal’s contract is for $1.1 million. He played five seasons (2008-13) under Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella with the Rangers.

Staal, 36, is coming off a Stanley Cup finals run by the Florida Panthers. Staal played all 82 regular-season games and all 21 playoff games this past season.

“A little bit of a veteran presence to help our young guys,” general manager Daniel Briere said at a news conference Monday.

“We never thought that a player like Marc Staal would have any interest in coming here, so we were pretty excited when we found out that there was mutual interest.

“I think it almost makes too much sense to have a guy like that who’s played for Torts, who understands what Torts is all about, is willing to kinda pass that message.

“I think part of it is being closer to his family. Part of it is the chance to play for Torts, as well. The history of the Flyers — I think it’s all these things combined. I’m speaking for him and you’d probably have to ask him exactly why, but it’s kinda in that direction I’d say.”

Young Defense

The Flyers’ trade of Tony DeAngelo back to the Hurricanes is expected to be approved by the league next week. That opens a slot on the Flyers’ on-the-young-side defense.

“Where is he [Staal] going to fit in the lineup?” Briere said. “We were very clear with him, about what we’re doing here, where the process is going and he wants to help out.

“He’s also a competitor. He’s going to play hard, he’s going to try to push our guys and play more and more and more kinda like what he did in Florida. I think it’s great to have guys like that love to compete.

“Adding someone like that who has so much experience and can help our young guys made too much sense almost.”

Staal has played 1,101 career NHL games. The left-handed shooter entered the NHL in 2007. He was an alternate captain in the league for 10 seasons.

Staal has 52 goals and 177 assists for 229 points and 523 penalty minutes in his 16-season career. 

“We looked around to add a player like that,” Briere said. “It was tough. We had lots of names and when his name came up everybody was unanimous on our staff that he was the best option.

“What he’s been through in his career. How many games he’s played in his career. How many games he’s played in the playoffs. The situations he’s been in.

“My belief and our belief about the future of this team: We don’t believe in tanking. We want our players to improve. They need some guidance. They need some guys that have been there, that have gone through it.”

Blocking Young Players?

At a news conference Saturday, Briere talked about how important it is to not block the Flyers’ young players. Why a 36-year-old, then?

“You gotta be careful, too, sometimes with rushing kids,” Briere said.

“There’s the fine line. We were very clear with Marc. Torts spoke to him and was very clear with him about where we’re going with the young guys. And he’s on-board, he understands that.

“But at the same time, we want to make sure that the kids are ready. Obviously, Cam York took a big step last year. [Egor] Zamula has to go through waivers, so we want him to be here.

“After that, for the other guys, they’re going to have to earn it. It’s a little bit of competition. If they’re ready, they’re going to play. If they’re not, we’ll give them time.

“We’ll follow the process the way it should be done. And that’s where a guy like Marc Staal becomes very important so we’re still competitive.”

Number Change, Again

Staal will wear No. 18, which was Tyson Foerster’s number as of yesterday. Foerster will wear 71.

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