Wednesday, the New York Rangers announced that they will be without star defenseman Ryan McDonagh for several games.
The Rangers are losing their captain for a couple of games. The team announced on Twitter that Ryan McDonagh, who was already slated to miss the game with the Hurricanes, will be out until at least Sunday.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 22, 2017
Even if McDonagh returns on schedule, he will miss games against the Hurricanes and Red Wings, and presumably miss Sunday’s game against the Canucks, which would be a big blow to a Rangers team just starting to find their game.
McDonagh, who is dealing with an abdominal strain, is far and away the teams top all-around defenseman. He plays 23:22 minutes per game, on the second powerplay unit, the top penalty killing group and on the top pair as well.
The lockdown defenseman also provides some offense for the team. He has 12 points in 21 games this season, all of which have come on assists.
He produced 42 points last season and has collected at least 32 every season excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and 2010-11, his first in the league, in which he played only 40 games.
McDonagh has long been tasked with playing big minutes, averaging 23:31 minutes per game throughout his career and 23:40 since the Rangers hired Alain Vigneault.
Steven Kampfer is the only extra defenseman on the roster and will draw back in until McDonagh returns from his injury. Kampfer has dressed for nine games this season, scoring no points and averaging 15:57 per game.
It’s expected that Kampfer will return to the third pair with Marc Staal, while Brendan Smith will take McDonagh’s place alongside Nick Holden. The captains big minutes will be extremely difficult to replace.
It will be up to everyone to step up and play their roles better. No one defenseman on the roster can replace McDonagh but the group has enough talent to step up and handle the loss for a few games.