Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/25/11

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 3: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers skates during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden on October 3, 2009 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Senators 5-2. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

The Rangers have remained scarily quiet on the status of defenseman Marc Staal since it was reported that he would not make the trip to Europe earlier in the month to begin the season due to post-concussion symptoms. We were given a false lead to what many thought would be an update on Staal last week, but once again, not a word was given from the team. Outside of the organization no one knows the real truth about Marc, but the fact that GM Glen Sather continues to fish around the league for defensive aid cannot be a good sign. 

Just last night it was reported by Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice that the Rangers have reached out to unrestricted free agent defenseman Anton Stralman with a contract offer. Stralman, 25, took part in Devils training camp in September on a tryout basis, but the team did not sign him to a contract. His tryout deal expired on October 6, therefore enabling him to talk with other teams in the league. 

Gulitti states that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello did not count out the idea of possibly signing Stralman somewhere down the road, but declined to comment when asked if he was aware that the Rangers had offered the former Columbus Blue Jacket a contract. 

Stralman registered one goal and 17 assists for 18 points last season with the Jackets, but was a minus-11 overall rating in 51 games played. Stralman would undoubtedly contribute more to the lineup than either of Jeff Woywitka or Brendan Bell are right now, but if Staal (and Sauer for that matter) was close to returning, then this move would appear unnecessary, no?

This is why I believe Staal may be set to return a little later than the team had hoped. The thing is, the Rangers have given no updates on Staal over the past three weeks, which makes me think that there may be no updates to give. In other words, Marc has not progressed nor regressed in that time, so right now he is sort of just stuck not being able to play. And with an issue as unpredictable as a concussion, there's no telling when he will return to game shape. 

The Rangers are being extremely cautious with Marc, and you cannot blame them since he is their top defenseman. But I think that at this point they've made it pretty obvious that they do not expect him back in the lineup anytime soon. They've battled through it so far (barely), so they can continue to do so until Staalsy is ready to come back. Hopefully getting Mike Sauer back on Thursday will help with that. 

NOTE: The Rangers have assigned Brendan Bell to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

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