The New York Rangers have three Olympians representing the United States in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Those three are, of course, captain of the Rangers Ryan Callahan, first line center Derek Stepan and first pair defenseman Ryan McDonagh. All three of those players are fan favorites and are very good players, but only one out of the three is actually great. This player is McDonagh. By far he is the most valuable Ranger representing the United States in these Olympics.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a closer look at these three.
Callahan, 28 years of age, is the captain of the Rangers, but just being captain does not automatically make you the most valuable player on your team, because that award goes to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist hands down. But if you just look at the Americans on the Rangers, you will see that Callahan is not the most valuable.
Besides being the captain, he has been very injury prone the past few years, mostly due to the vigorous shot blocking defensive system implemented by former head coach John Tortorella over the years. This season alone he has only played 42 of the Rangers’ 59 regular season games and when he plays he more often than not struggles to adjust to new head coach Alain Vigneault‘s offensive system.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Callahan definitely has his moments, like the two-goal game he had against the Colorado Avalanche, but the majority of his games are spent not producing much offense and not being as noticeable as he was under Tortorella.
For a player like Callahan, making over $4 million this season and wanting a seven-year extension for close to $7 million per season, the potential unrestricted free agent is definitely not a must sign at all costs if he does not lower his asking price.
As for Stepan, 23 years of age, he made a big stink this offseason with wanting a long term contract after a successful lockout shortened season and because of his actions he ended up missing training camp. After he finally decided to take GM Glen Sather‘s two year bridge deal at $3.075 million per, he has shown us why Sather did not want to sign him long term.
Stepan is supposedly the Rangers’ No. 1 center yet he only has 10 goals and 25 assists on the season making Stepan look as if he is mostly talk.
McDonagh, 24 years of age, has been the Rangers’ rock ever since he made his debut back in the 2010-11 season. This season McDonagh leads all the Rangers’ skaters in ice time, logging over 25 minutes per game, has played all 59 games for the Rangers thus and has eight goals and 22 assists. Did I mention McDonagh is also a defenseman?
McDonagh has just as much offensive production as Callahan and Stepan, who are forwards, plays the most amount of minutes on the team and is the Rangers’ No. 1 defenseman. Not to mention, McDonagh is under contract with the Rangers up until the 2019-20 NHL season and makes less than $5 million per season.
In my opinion, I think it is pretty obvious that McDonagh is the most valuable American on this Rangers team and more valuable than Callahan and Stepan combined.