This season the Rangers used eleven different defenseman including Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Marc Staal, Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger, Jeff Woywitka, Michael Sauer, Tim Erixon and Brendan Bell.
McDonagh and Girardi played all 82 games while Del Zotto played 77, Stralman played 53, Bickel 51, Staal 46, Eminger 42, Woywitka 27, Sauer 29, Erixon 18 and Bell 1.
Marc Staal missed the first half of the season with a concussion while Sauer was in and out of the lineup at the beginning of the year due to a shoulder injury but has been out since December 5th with a concussion.
Steve Eminger missed time with a separated shoulder and a badly sprained ankle.
John Tortorella said of how the injury to Staal impacted the Rangers, “You never know. It’s funny how it works out when you end up with injuries. We always talk about when there’s injuries, another guy gets an opportunity. You never know where it’s going to lead you. So with Mac, the amount of time he got so quickly in key situations because of that injury has accelerated his process, where that may be a year down the road if we didn’t have an injury. So you never know how this works out. I’m not sure if I’ll ever split those two guys up. That’s just the way it works, and that’s the interesting part when you have injuries, how things work out.”
McDonagh isn’t the only Ranger to benefit from Marc Staal’s injury, as McDonagh moving up gave Michael Del Zotto more responsibility and a spot in the top four that helped bring his game to another level.
Steve Eminger’s injury in December gave Stu Bickel a chance to stay with the team after a strong training camp.
Michael Sauer’s concussion opened the door for Anton Stralman.