Ryan McDonagh, whom the Rangers acquired as part of the Scott Gomez deal, was the 12th overall pick of the 2007 draft, taken by the Montreal Canadiens. McDonagh, a defenseman, and often overlooked as a solid acquisition in the Gomez deal, has a solid build at 6’1 203 lbs, and is flourishing at the University of Wisconsin after leading his high school to a state championship.
His rookie season with the Badgers was nothing short of a success, being named to the WCHA All Rookie team. Although his stats appeared to be underwhelming in his first year (5-7-12, 42 PIMs in 40 GP), the often overlooked stat is that he led the Wisconsin defensemen in goals, which is no small feat for a rookie. This Wisconsin defensive corps also led the entire nation in goals with 26, with McDonagh at the top of that list.
Last season, his sophomore season with the Badgers, saw McDonagh improve slightly in the points category, but greatly improve in both his defensive and physical game. He again put up 5 goals, while adding 11 assists and 59 PIMs in 36 GP.
In addition to his physical and defensive play, which is top notch at the college level, McDonagh showcases his speed, which is one of his key assets, and his ability to make that first breakout pass on the rush. Defensively solid in his own end, McDonagh uses his speed and his passing ability to help develop the rush.
Entering his junior year with the club, McDonagh is one of the key components of the Rangers defensive prospect depth. McDonagh, along with Bobby Sanguinetti and Michael Del Zotto, are three blue chip prospects. While Del Zotto and Sangs are predicted to be solid offensive defensemen, McDonagh looks to be that anchor on the blueline, the one that will dish out the hit and play solid defense. As much as Ranger fans loved getting Christopher Higgins in the Gomez deal, McDonagh is definitely the one we should be focusing on.
Future pairings of Del Zotto-Staal and Sanguinetti-McDonagh, all first round picks, definitely get Ranger fans excited for the future on the blueline.