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Staios signs one-year deal

The 15-year NHL veteran will provide leadership and a shutdown role on the penalty kill

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 2:40 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Staios signs one-year deal
With the amount of playing time Steve Staios has received since joining the Islanders on a tryout basis Sept. 19, his one-year deal shouldn’t come as a surprise. He has been tested in all three exhibition games the team has played thus far and is set to dress in his fourth game tonight against New Jersey.

“The one thing I tried to tell Steve was that he was going to get an honest shot,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. “He came in, he worked hard and he earned a spot on our hockey team.”

The 15-year NHL veteran has outwardly expressed his belief in the talented core of players General Manager Garth Snow has built from his first day at camp, but he’s even more convinced now than he was two weeks ago.

Steve Staios looks on during the warm-up prior to NHL preseason action against the Calgary Flames on September 27, 2011 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
“You have to have the best players being your leaders and your hardest workers and so far, that’s what I’ve seen from this group,” Staios said. “There’s a real big upside to this team. I had the option of maybe three or four places legitimately, but it just made sense that this was the right place for a lot of reasons, mostly because the lineup and how the team played last year and where I could fit in on the team.”

Thus far in camp, the defenseman has proven to be extremely valuable during shorthanded play. In two out of three games, he’s played more than four minutes on the penalty kill, with more than 1:30 of shorthanded play the third night. He’s also recorded as many as four blocked shots in one game.

“That’s where I see myself (on the penalty kill),” Staios said. “I knew that as training camp went on, it would be more evident of where I’d fit in on this team. I’ve killed penalties almost every year of my career and I’m willing to block shots and do the gritty things you need on the penalty kill, so I’ll do whatever is asked of me from the coaching staff. It’s all about the team for me first.”

Capuano said, “He’s a physical presence back there. He blocks a lot of shots. He takes a lot of pride in the PK. So I think Steve is a guy that’s going to help us for sure.”

The coaching staff has not only given Staios every on-ice opportunity to show that he deserves a spot on the Islanders roster, but management’s decision to offer him a contract goes beyond his on-ice performance. They also like the leadership qualities he brings to locker room.

“We’re not in a rebuilding stage anymore, but we are still a young team and he can supply the leadership that we need along with all the other guys in the room, with Streiter being our captain,” Capuano said.

While the coaches know Staios will add an important veteran presence to their locker room, the Islanders newest defenseman said the leadership is already well established.

I’m really impressed by how mature the younger players are on this team. When you have a group like this with the high skill level, you can get away from thinking about the team game or the details or the willingness to do the right things to win. These guys have a good understanding of that already. - Steve Staios
“I’m really impressed by how mature the younger players are on this team,” Staios said. “When you have a group like this with the high skill level, you can get away from thinking about the team game or the details or the willingness to do the right things to win. These guys have a good understanding of that already.”

Pairing with Mark Streit for the second time tonight, Staios said he already enjoys playing with the Islanders captain. In their first night together, Staios scored his lone goal of the preseason.

“I think our styles complement each other,” Staios said. “It’s good for Mark (Streit) to feel comfortable to jump up in the play, do what he needs to do and trust that I’ll be in position and be able to back him up.”

Without a final roster set, where Staios will ultimately fit into the lineup on opening night is unclear. He’s also partnered with Mike Mottau and Milan Jurcina. Not having a definitive partner doesn’t really matter though, as he’ll be happy to play in any situation he’s asked.

“Throughout the season, I know things change, but it would be nice to find a pairing and stay with it,” Staios said. “When I look at our defense, I think there are a lot of interchangeable pairs that we could mix and match.”

Welcome to the Island, Steve Staios.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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