Alain Vigneault said on Thursday that Marc Staal is a player who is "fighting for ice time, fighting for a spot on the team.
He followed that up by saying that the Rangers brought Staal because they "believe in him."
Vigneault continued, "I like Marc Staal, I believe in Marc Staal but at the end of the day this is probably the first time in a while that he is fighting for a spot and minutes. He knows that and that is why you have training camp and then you take it a day at a time and make the best possible calls for the team
On Nick Holden, Vigneault said that for "55 games" Holden was one of the Rangers best defensemen but that there were games near the end that were more "difficult."
He said that, overall, Holden was a "real effective player" at both ends of the rink and that he is "anxious" to see how Holden will perform.
Vigneault said that in general how a player plays will dictate how much they play.
Adam Rotter: Holden's future was a topic this summer after his struggles in the second half, the young defensemen the Rangers have and because he is relatively cheap and going to be a UFA this summer. The Rangers kept him and I still think he is the leader right now to start the season as the 6th defenseman. I'm not sure how long his leash will be, especially if someone like Anthony DeAngelo has a real good camp, but I expect Holden to be on the Rangers third pair come opening night.
As for Marc Staal, his future was a topic as well but with his no-move clause and dead cap space for a buy out, was always likely to return. I think Staal is likely to take a spot on the third pair and it will be interesting to see how fewer minutes, probably against a bit lower competition, impact Staal. Staal will never be the player he was or was supposed to be before his first concussion and then the eye injury, but in a certain role he could probably still play some effective minutes for the Rangers. He will likely still have a big role on the Rangers PK and from time to time play on the second pair, but overall the hope has to be that a change in role will benefit Staal.