Ryan McDonagh has been the New York Rangers‘ best defenseman for at least the last three seasons now, and he seems to just keep getting better and better every game. So much better that for the first time in his young career he is being mentioned around the NHL as a possible Norris Trophy candidate for best defenseman of the year. While he might not win the award this season if he is indeed a candidate, he showed us all last night against the Philadelphia Flyers why he is at least being considered.
Offensively, McDonagh is having a breakout season. With McDonagh’s goal in the second period against the Flyers, his 14th of the season, he would help the Rangers take a 2-0 lead at that time as the Rangers would eventually go on to win by a 3-1 score. His 14th goal of the year, still with two weeks or so left in the regular season, is now double the amount of goals from his previous single season career-high, which was seven goals in the 2011-12 season.
Now while offense is nice, defensemen are ultimately paid the big bucks for their defense and anything offensively is a bonus, basically meaning McDonagh is worth every penny of his $4.7 million contract. Defensively, McDonagh is not only the best on the Rangers, but he is one of the best in the entire NHL. He is brilliant at shutting teams top players down, and last night was no different when defending Flyers’ star and captain Claude Giroux. He was only able to record one assist on the Flyers’ lone goal and had a total of zero, yes zero, shots on net for the entire game.
The scary thing about McDonagh is that he is currently only 24 years of age, meaning he is already considered as one of the top defensemen in the league and has not even reached the prime of his career yet.