New York Rangers: Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award Nominees (Poll)
Mar 9, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (36) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Which New York Rangers player will go “above and beyond the call of duty on and off the ice” to win the Steven McDonald extra effort award?

Every April one of the most anticipated nights comes to Madison Square Garden. Steven McDonald night.

For any fans who are new to the New York Rangers, Steven McDonald was shot and paralyzed in Central Park while working as an NYPD officer in 1986. Ever since that dreadful day Steven had been an influential figure in spreading peace, forgiveness, and of course the New York Rangers. His wife, Patti Ann, and NYPD sergeant son Conor have been by his side for every moment and share his passion for the Blueshirts.

This season, as the days pass on toward Steven McDonald night, the feeling around the locker room will be somber. On January 10, 2017, Steven McDonald passed away. His legacy, however, will live on through the New York Rangers organization, players, and of course the fans. Take a moment to watch a video tribute to Steven McDonald.

Impact on New York Rangers

The New York Rangers had a huge impact on the McDonald Family. Even more importantly the McDonald family had a tremendous impact on the New York Rangers. In order to fully understand his influence on the organization below are some quotes from the New York Rangers website from previous award winners and members of the New York Rangers.

“Winning the (Extra Effort Award) in his honor is one of my (proudest) accomplishments as a hockey player.” -Brandon Dubinsky

“I don’t know if any human being on this planet could have inspired us any more than Steven McDonald” – Former New York Rangers coach, Tom Renney

“For a man like that, with all he’s gone through, to be proud of us-it’s humbling. It’s hard to describe that feeling.” Brian Boyle

It’s easy to see that Steven McDonald was a motivating and influential member of Rangerstown. His memory will never be forgotten.

2017 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award Nominees

Previous Award recipients include the likes of Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Wayne Gretzky, Jed Ortmeyer, Henrik Lundqvist, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Mats Zuccarello and Cam Talbot.

Antii Raanta

The roller coaster season of Henrik Lundqvist with some mixed in injuries has allowed Antti Raanta to step up when called upon. Raanta is sporting a brilliant 15-7-2 record with a 2.32 GAA and a .920 save percentage. His effort on the ice is well noted allowing the Rangers to compete in every game he has started. Without the 15 wins, Antti has supplied the Rangers would find themselves in a much different playoff situation.

Michael Grabner

When talking about effort on the ice, only a few players in the league are ahead of our own Michael Grabner. The speedy forward brings everything he’s got to the ice night in and night out. His offense has exploded this season tallying 27 goals and 12 assists for a total of 39 points. His offensive presence and breakaway speed were greatly missed during his three-week injury. Grabner has revitalized his career with his speed and continued effort on the ice. For that reason, he should be considered for the award.

Mats Zuccarello

Zucc has won the award two times prior and for good reason. Zuccarello may be the hardest working player in the NHL. His small stature has never prevented him from getting in a players face, throwing a couple punches, or just talking some smack. Zuccarello always finishes his checks, is tough on the puck in the corners, and isn’t afraid to battle in front of the net. His pass first mentality, although often frustrating, has allowed him to compile 37 assists with an additional 14 goals for a total of 51 points.

Even more commendable is Zuccarello’s hustle on every single play in a game. He has been noticed putting his head down and skating not only on odd man rushes but also on the ever important back check. His hockey IQ coupled with his determination leave him a favorite for the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award every season he remains a New York Ranger.

Extra Effort Award Voting and Ceremony

The award is given to a player who excels both on and off the ice. The statistics above highlight players effort on the ice. Don’t forget about all the New York Rangers players efforts off the ice with countless charities and New York communities. Hockey players are truly a charitable bunch.

New York Rangers fans can vote for their Steven McDonald award winner now through April 3 by clicking Here.

The Steven McDonald extra effort award will be presented during an emotional pre-game ceremony on April 9th, the Rangers last home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Who do you think will win the 2017 Extra Effort Award?

Jump on twitter to vote and if you select “other” feel free to comment on the article or respond on twitter with the hashtag #McDonaldExtraEffort with your choice and an explanation.

Follow the crew on Twitter, check out the ESNY RTR home page and never miss an episode on iTunes.

Die hard New York Rangers fan and podcaster. All NY sports. Yankees, Giants, Rangers LGR!