When the Rangers arrived at the off-season this summer it's hard to imagine that any of their plans did not have the re-signing of restricted free agent defenseman Ryan McDonagh right near the top of their to-do list. So it was an extremely important piece of business that was taken care of on Monday when the Rangers announced that McDonagh had agreed to terms with the club. Though the terms were not disclosed by the team, many reports state that McDonagh signed a six-year contract to remain a Blueshirt.
The 24 year-old McDonagh has quickly become an integral part of the Rangers core, both in the present and in the future, with his exceptionally strong play over the past two-and-a-half seasons. In 169 NHL games, McDonagh owns a +54 plus/minus rating, while accumulating 60 points (12-48-60), blocking 329 shots, and being credited with 243 hits.
However numbers do not provide the full description of how important McDonagh has become to the Rangers. An extremely intelligent and mature player, McDonagh has already developed into a top shutdown defenseman; and when the team has needed him the most---during Marc Staal's concussion-related absence during 2011-12 and following Staal's eye injury this past season---McDonagh has taken on more responsibility and proceeded to play the best hockey of his young career.
McDonagh already has 37 games of playoff experience under his belt, and has delivered a string of big-time performances, not the least of which was helping to shut down Washington's Alex Ovechkin during the opening round of this spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs. Perhaps his most memorable playoff outing as a Ranger came in Game Three of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals when he logged more than 53 minutes of ice time in New York's triple-overtime victory.
The former University of Wisconsin star, who was orginally the Montreal Canadiens first round selection in the 2007 NHL Draft before being dealt to New York on June 30, 2009 in one of Glen Sather's shrewdest trades as Rangers President/General Manager, will continue his special summer when he gets married this month. He then will set his sights on another big season with the Rangers and a possible spot on the United States entry in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
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