Ryan McDonagh Conquers The World
Scott Gomez and Ryan McDonagh will be forever linked in the minds of New York Rangers fans. Had NYR General Manager Glen Sather not pulled the trigger in 2009, sending Gomez and his $7.3 million AAV salary to Montreal, the NYR would’ve had one less Olympian (and a far worse blueline) on their hands.
Luckily for all of us, he did just that. The then 22-year-old McDonagh was an immediate success not only with the Rangers, but with the fan base as well.
OLYMPIC MAC TRUCK
His strong play was also recognized by Team USA architects Brian Burke and David Poile, who selected him to play alongside Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. McDonagh played in all six games for the United States, tallying a goal and an assist to go along with a plus one rating for the tournament. He was placed on the top defensive pairing alongside Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, and the duo proved to be a force.
Mac’s most impressive performance to the national audience, though no surprise to loyal Rangers fans, came against Team Russia and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin, currently tops in the NHL with 40 goals, was completely stymied when matched up with McDonagh, finishing the game with zero goals and zero assists.
WHERE DOES HE RANK?
Many have said the 2014 Winter Games were a coming out party of sorts for McDonagh, arguably the Rangers best kept secret on a national level. Heading into the Olympic break, McDonagh has played in 56 of the Rangers 59 games with an average TOI of 24:35 per game, good for 18th among NHL defensemen. He’s also 5th on the NYR in total points, proving his worth as an offensive defensemen. His eight goals have him knocking on the door of the top ten totals for defensemen in the league (currently tied for 11th), but just where does he rank when compared to some of the elite defenders in the NHL? Let’s take a look at this comparison:
Player A: 59 GP, 8 Goals, 31 assists, 39 points, 98 blocked shots. Age 24.
Player B: 56 GP, 8 Goals, 28 assists, 36 points, 74 blocked shots. Age 25.
Player C: 59 GP, 8 goals, 22 assists, 30 points, 95 blocked shots. Age 24.
With the exception of a nine goal disparity between Player A and Player C, these common stats are pretty even. Player A is reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban. Player B is fellow Olympian Kevin Shattenkirk. And as you may have guessed, Player C is none other than our own Ryan McDonagh, who compares quite favorably to some of the top defensemen in the NHL.
Rangers GM Glen Sather, often on the negative end of NYR fans wrath, made the move to ink McDonagh to a six-year contract extension worth $28.2 million this past summer. The deal was one that needed to be completed, as McDonagh is entering the prime of his career and will absolutely be viewed as a steal on this current deal in the years to come. And while the contract made McDonagh the NYR highest paid blueliner, he barely cracks the top 50 when it comes to highest contracts among defensemen.
McDonagh’s ability to shut down premier scorers (see: Ovechkin, Alex during the 2013 post-season) and tally points of his own is one that is welcomed by the NYR and their rabid fan base. He will most certainly be part of the foundation of this team for years to come.
Ryan McDonagh has conquered the world, now it’s time to dominate the NHL.