A Thank You Letter to Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh(INSIDEHOCKEY.COM)

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On February 28th, a few days after the Rangers made a huge splash at the Trade Deadline by sending Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller to Tampa, McDonagh went to The Players Tribune and penned a heartfelt letter to the New York Rangers and the fans, thanking them and us for our support. He describes getting stuck in traffic before a playoff game, his OT playoff goal against Washington, his reaction to seeing the “C” on his jersey,  the many people that he’s come across as a Ranger, along with how Ranger fans treated him well in his time here.

He ended the essay with this:

I played in the most famous arena in the world.

In front of the best fans in the world.

In the best city in the world.

And I mean every word of it.

Thank you, New York.

Sincerely,

Ryan McDonagh

No, Ryan. We thank you!

I normally don’t get too emotional with players getting traded or leaving but this one resonated with me a little. What he brought to this franchise and the many moments of pure elation him and the team gave us is something that can never be taken away. Sure, these last few years didn’t end with a Cup win, and that stings, but at the end of the day, we had massive amounts of fun during this incredibly long playoff streak and in the middle of it all, doing his part, was Ryan McDonagh.

I remember when the Rangers made the trade with Montreal back on June 30th, 2009, from the looks of it, the main focus of the deal was to rid Scott Gomez. Adding two prospects to boot? Hey, you’re a friend in my book Bob Gainey. I started to pay attention more to the prospects in that deal, especially McDonagh. I have this habit of following specific prospects and hoping they pan out. I did this with David Wright and the Mets back in the day and continued to do it with Ryan McDonagh.

I tend to get excited for defensive prospects and I noticed that he was excelling in Hartford and was eager to see him finally get the call in 2011. Nobody expected him to become the defenseman he would be for this franchise. All of the following I did, his stellar play, along with him scoring his first NHL goal the day after my 18th birthday in 2011, led me to believe that the Rangers had something special on their hands and makes this trade hit home a little harder, for myself and for all of Blueshirt faithful as well.

Although hockey is a team sport, one guy can help make a difference and that guy for the Rangers for an incredibly long time was Ryan McDonagh. His stalwart defense and tremendous skating ability allowed him to do great things on the ice. Wherever he was placed, whether it was on the power play, penalty kill, 3 on 3, he produced. He could hit and defend with the best of them, he could skate and pass with the best of them and was and still is considered a top tier, elite level defenseman in the NHL. His presence on and off the ice made a huge difference throughout the years and the team bore the fruits of his talents in many, many instances leading to one of the most successful periods in New York Rangers hockey.

McDonagh was also a tremendous playoff performer! His play cemented and solidified a strong team effort that led to many long runs. Who can forget this thrilling OT winner versus Washington that kept the Rangers alive? The shot was perfect, even if he admits he didn’t aim it, it was done right.

So, to Ryan, I say this:

For many years, you did your job and you did it right. You led by example and played the game with speed, smarts and skill. Your talents were able to provide this franchise someone to lean on, becoming a fan favorite quickly.

Ryan McDonagh, you personified what it meant to be the captain of the New York Rangers and fit the mold of what we ask for in our players. You never whined or complained, you just went out there, hurt or not, and did your job. You provided us with many wonderful moments and times of joy these last few years and we are all honored to say that we were able to watch you grow with the team and with us. You will be missed by us all. It’s going to be strange going to MSG and not seeing number 27 with the C in front out on the ice holding it down.

So, on behalf of every single Ranger fan out there, we want to collectively say THANK YOU for all that you have done for this team. Your contributions will never be forgotten and have certainly left your mark with your high level of play and incredibly consistency on the back end.

Thank You, Ryan.

Sincerely,

The Best Fans In The World.