When the New York Rangers decided it was time to move Scott Gomez and his ridiculous contract back in 2009, most people were wondering just who the heck it was that Rangers got in return.
After this season, no Ranger fan will ever forget the trade that brought Ryan McDonagh to New York.
McDonagh emerged into a shutdown defenseman in the 2011-2012 campaign when he was partnered with Dan Girardi. Marc Staal‘s concussion gave McDonagh the chance to shine as a top-two defenseman. This formed the Rangers’ shutdown pair who were always matched against the other teams top offensive line.
In the lockout-shortened 2013 season, McDonagh emerged as a full-blown superstar. While he is now known as a shutdown defenseman, his offensive skill began to flourish later in the season and in the playoffs.
McDonagh was not used much on the power play as he was logging so many other important minutes. Former coach John Tortorella did not want to use him too much because he was afraid that the player would get worn out. But when the Rangers were facing elimination, Tortorella put him on the power play and McDonagh looked phenomenal.
New head coach Alain Vigneault will be able to get even more out of McDonagh offensively. With Vigneault being an offensive-minded coach, he will allow his defenseman to push this pace. This will give McDonagh much more free reign as he is one of the best skaters in the league. He will still be relied on to shut down opposing forwards, but he will be allowed to jump up into the play more often.
During the regular season, McDonagh put up 19 points in 47 games with four goals and 15 assists. In the playoffs, he had one goal and three assists for a total of four points. He was arguably one of the best players for the rangers in the playoffs as his skill began to show even more.
McDonagh is a restricted free agent along with other talented players Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin, and will be at the top of the priority list for the Rangers this offseason.