The New York Rangers shocked the hockey world with the trade of Ryan McDonagh. Now we look back at a memorable career on Broadway.
McDonagh had spent the first seven and a half seasons of his career with the Blueshirts. Throughout that time, he served as captain, led the team to three Eastern Conference Finals, and a Stanley Cup Finals. All of these served as some of the greatest moments of the last 10 years that the Ranger faithful will cherish for a lifetime.
Ranked below are some of the great moments from McDonagh’s career with the Rangers. Rankings are based on a number of things including impact, surprise level, and personal preference.
5. Mac Bursts Onto The Scene
The Rangers acquired McDonagh in a 2009 trade from the Montreal Canadiens for Scott Gomez and Tom Pyatt. He would make his debut a season later.
In his rookie year, McDonagh had to fill in for veteran defenseman Marc Staal who missed a majority of the season due to a concussion. He skated in 40 games that year only tallying nine points.
Watching McDonagh in his rookie season, you had a feeling that he was going to be something special. His plus 16 rating as a rookie defenseman is almost unheard of. His emergence signaled that the Rangers would be in great hands over the next few years. They most certainly were in great hands and McDonagh would help the Blueshirts go places beyond their wildest imaginations.
4. Amazing 2013-14 Season
In the 2013-14 season, McDonagh had one of the best seasons a Ranger defenseman has had since Brian Leetch.
That season would go down as McDonagh’s best all-around season in the NHL. He scored a career-high 43 points which included 14 goals, another career high. He would flourish under new head coach Alain Vigneault.
McDonagh would lead the Rangers to their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. During that run, McDonagh would score 17 points in the Rangers’ 25 playoff games. The team would fall short, but McDonagh established himself as an elite defenseman in the NHL.
3. McDonagh Is Named Captain
(Oct. 6, 2014)
After the Rangers traded captain Ryan Callahan in the 2013-14 season, they needed someone else to wear the “C” on their sweater.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 7, 2014
McDonagh was named as the 27th captain in franchise history on Oct. 6, 2014. The Rangers had plenty of options to chose from with the likes of Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, and Staal, but they saw something special in McDonagh.
He became the fourth youngest captain in franchise history. He also became the 11th defenseman who would wear the “C” on the front of the Ranger uniform. The Rangers made the postseason every season that McDonagh was captain, going as far as the Eastern Conference Finals twice, first in the 2011-12 and again in the 2014-15 season. Of course, there was also the 2013-14 season, when McDonagh and the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
2. Plays Through Injury
The 2014-15 season ended with great heartbreak, and some Ranger players were literally broken.
Following the Rangers being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning, we discovered that McDonagh was playing through a leg injury.
The Rangers had everyone scratching their heads because they had dressed seven defensemen in a game seven. But the Rangers really did not have a choice to because internally McDonagh’s status was unknown. We would find out later on that McDonagh was playing with a broken leg throughout that postseason. The more impressive part of that is that he played his normal minutes, showing true leadership.
1. Mac Keeps The Rangers Season Alive
(May 8, 2015)
The Rangers were down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the Washington Capitals. They would win that series but needed McDonagh’s help.
McDonagh’s overtime game-winning goal in game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals played a monumental role in the Rangers winning that series. If not for McDonagh’s goal the Rangers probably do not make it out of that game alive.
The Rangers would go onto win the next two games and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers would eventually fall to the Tampa Bay and the Rangers would come up short yet again. That season was a great year for McDonagh and the Rangers with plenty of memorable moments.