With three weeks until the trade deadline the New York Rangers become an interesting team. As the Rangers enter their full sell mode all eyes will be on General Manager Jeff Gorton. As Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported about two weeks ago the Rangers will be blowing up the team going into full rebuild mode. Obviously, players like Rick Nash and Michael Grabner hold the most trade value as they are expiring contracts.
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One player that is most interesting is the captain Ryan McDonagh. Though McDonagh is having a down season by his standards, he is still a top-four defender on any team. McDonagh’s contract is very team friendly. With his contract expiring at the end of the 2018-19, McDonagh will be making $4.7 million. If a team were trade for him, they would not have to make much room to make him fit under the cap.
At 28-years old McDonagh is still producing and is a nice trade chip. As Travis Yost of TSN points out McDonagh is one of those defensemen that eats minutes on the ice. What team would not want to trade for that. McDonagh has done nothing but produce since coming to the Rangers. Labeled as a top pair defensemen in the NHL, he has not played with comparable talent. Just look at the players McDonagh has been paired with.
From the likes of Dan Girard, Nick Holden, Kevin Klein, and Marc Staal, none of these players are really first pairing defensemen. One of the biggest qualities McDonagh brings to the table is making his defense partner better. That is exactly what he has done with the players listed above. Another quality that McDonagh brings to the table is that he can play in almost any situation. Head coach Alain Vigneault has put McDonagh out on the ice no matter the situation. Most of the time McDonagh is playing the shut down role.
Like most players, McDonagh has a weakness. It may not be glaring, but he definitely is there. The biggest knock of McDonagh is he is not the best at moving the puck. That is where the value for McDonagh could be less than say an Erik Karlsson. However, it is hard to compare the two players because they play a completely different games. Karlsson is more offensive minded while McDonagh is more defensive minded.
Interestingly enough there are teams out there that could use a player like McDonagh. One of those teams is the Tampa Bay Lightning. As previously mentioned Dan Girardi use to be partnered with Ryan McDonagh during their time in New York. So it would appear the Lightning would be a perfect fit. Obviously the price would for McDonagh would be high. A player of that magnitude would warrant a first round pick, a prospect, and a NHL-ready player. McDonagh would be the player that could catapult the Lightning straight to the Stanley Cup.
It appears more likely that the Lightning would go after a defensemen that carries lesser value on the trade market. Though with Steve Yzerman at the helm you just never know. Another team linked to McDonagh has been the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, with the play of Travis Dermott, it appears the Maple Leafs may just stand pat during the trade deadline.
More than likely if a trade for McDonagh does happen it will occur during the draft or in the off-season. However, if the Rangers are truly in a rebuild a guy like McDonagh would be perfect to build around. Top pairing defensemen do not grow on trees. Though getting value for a player entering the final year of his contract could get the Rangers the draft picks they desperately.
Stay tuned for more as the trade deadline approaches.