The New York Rangers announced 2 years ago a rebuild, a rebuild that would see a lot of the core players on the team get traded. This included their best player at the time and captain, Ryan McDonagh.
Ryan was traded along with J.T Miller and Kevin Shattenkirk, from the Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa was expected to be a cup contender immediately, and while it has taken a few years to get there, the Lightning and McDonagh are now due to be the next names engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup, after defeating the Dallas Stars in game 6 of the finals.
2009 the Rangers acquired McDonagh in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens, he then made is NHL debut in the 2010-2011 season, where Ryan showed off his elite skating and his defensive skill set closing down some of the leagues elite players.
His constant progression over the next few seasons helped get Ryan a name as one of the leagues top defensive stars, which got him plenty of time on the ice and experience in playoff games.
Ryan McDonagh Early Career
Early in his career, the Rangers relied on McDonagh as a shutdown defensive defenseman and he excelled in that role. While his strong play didn’t always show up in the stat sheet, he did his job and helped New York make a run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2012.
He had no goals and four assists in 20 games that postseason but averaged 26:49 in time on ice per game despite not playing on the power play.
In 2014 playing with a separated shoulder, McDonagh led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final where they would lose to the LA Kings.
Don’t get me wrong it looked like an early exit for the Rangers, but after trailing the Penguins 3-1 in the 2nd round series, McDonagh turned the whole series around by scoring 1 goal and 1 assist in game 5, for the Rangers to comeback and win in 7.
Next up was the Montreal Canadiens, in the Eastern Conference Final, surprisingly were dominated by the Rangers and McDonagh, who consistently shut them down in the defensive zone.
He finished the series with two goals and eight assists, and the Rangers won in six games
Taking them to the final which they lost to a very good LA Kings team and a young netminder who was on form, Jonathan Quick, who basically stood on his head to shut the Rangers down and help the Kings lift the cup.
The following postseason, McDonagh played through another injury without missing any games. This time it was a broken foot. The Rangers would make it to the playoffs.
Once again the Rangers trailed 3-1 in the second round of the postseason, this time against the Washington Capitals. Game 5 went to overtime, and he delivered a clutch game-winning goal.
The Blueshirts won Game 6 and trailed in Game 7, but McDonagh assisted on the game-tying goal before Derek Stepan scored the series-winning goal in overtime. However, New York fell to Tampa Bay in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Rangers made the playoffs in each of McDonagh’s first seven seasons with them. In 96 postseason games with New York, he had 10 goals, 31 assists, 223 blocked shots and 219 hits. He was an excellent postseason player with the Blueshirts, but never won the Stanley Cup.
Stanley Cup Champions
Finally after all the years of travelling around as a Jr, playing in college (where he won a state championship with his brother) injuries, hard workouts, early starts at the rink, childhood dreams, the highs the lows, the slumps, the streaks Ryan McDonagh finally fulfilled his lifelong dream Monday night against The Dallas Stars and lifted his first ever Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As a Rangers fan I’m happy that Ryan got his cup finally(unfortunately in the wrong jersey) but it couldn’t of happened to a more loyal, hard working player. As Blueshirt fans
Captain Mac we salute you!!