Edmonton Journal scoffs at the idea that Ryan McDonagh is even a top defenseman

Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh

I always enjoy a good counterpoint to any idea or argument. One of the things I like to do when I have time is see how the other side sees things. I was doing some routine searching when I found a piece by David Staples of the Edmonton Journal. There he addresses the recent article by the NY POST’s Larry Brooks on trading Ryan McDonagh.

If you recall, Brooks felt if the Rangers really wanted to change the core of the team and be competitive, moving McDonagh would be their best trade chip. I actually concurred with the notion (not really advocating for a McDonagh trade) as well. We both felt that maybe a deal to the defense starved Oilers could land the Rangers a player like Taylor Hall and a 1st round pick. Well, according to Mr. Staples they ain’t having it.

[su_quote cite=”Edmonton Journal” url=”https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/new-york-rangers-should-trade-ryan-mcdonagh-for-taylor-hall-and-oilers-1st-overall-pick-says-ny-writer-huh”]McDonagh, 26, is not among the top elite NHL dmen. He’s not in the class of a Brent Burns, a Victor Hedman, an Erik Karlsson, a Drew Doughty, a Duncan Keith or a P.K. Subban. McDonagh is arguably in that second group of really solid No. 1 d-men, players like Alex Pietrangelo, Roman Josi, John Carlson, Mark Giordano, Kris Letang. If he is in that company, he’s near the bottom of the group. He’s not much of a power play scorer, though his even strength scoring is fine, 0.91 points per 60 in the past three seasons, good for 33rd overall for regular NHL dmen, and just ahead of Edmonton’s Oscar Klefbom, .9o per 60[/su_quote]

OUCH! That was my initial reaction, but when you think it about it – he’s right. Ryan McDonagh is a great defenseman for the New York Rangers but he isn’t even in the same stratosphere as the names mentioned by Staples in tier 1.

That got me looking at the next group of defenseman and I think that we can certainly have some contention about him being in the bottom of that tier there. I like a lot of those players but in fairness to McDonagh, he’s actually been banged up over the last few seasons. What hurts his numbers more is he tries to play through the injuries also. It also didn’t help this season that Dan Girardi was hurting almost all year, which impacted McDonagh’s ability to jump in the play a little more often.

McDonagh hurt in Vancouver (MSG/Sportsnet)

McDonagh hurt in Vancouver (MSG/Sportsnet)

Bottom line, Ryan McDonagh hasn’t had the luxury of a full healthy season in recent memory. He has missed 20 games over the last two years and hasn’t been the same since injuring his shoulder in Vancouver at the end of the 2013-14 season. That year, McDonagh posted 14G and 43PTS in 77 games. A career year for the then 25 year old budding star who posted a .56 points per game pace but only .46 pts per game since.

Ryan McDonagh (27) is helped off the ice  (Photo: Ray Stubblebine)

Ryan McDonagh (27) is helped off the ice (Photo: Ray Stubblebine)

In conclusion, I agree with David Staples right now. At face value, McDonagh may not be worth what we NYR fans think he’s worth. However, a full healthy season and a better defense partner could see McDonagh hit that .65 points per game mark I think he’s capable of. Matter of fact, unless the package is as big as Brooks and I feel he’s worth, the Rangers shouldn’t even consider moving him.

There’s always two perspectives in any player’s value. Unless the team looking to acquire him values him even higher than we do, there’s no discussion to be had. Ryan McDonagh has all the making of a Norris Trophy defenseman and it’s a feat I’d like to see him achieve in Rangers’ Blue.


Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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