That title is a bit surprising, eh? Larry Brooks of the NY Post has the scoop that now ex-GM of the Montreal Canadiens Bob Gainey wasn’t all that impressed with Ryan McDonagh when they went to scout him in Wisconsin after drafting him 12th overall in the 2007 draft. According to Brooks, the Canadiens expected more:
The Canadiens apparently expected McDonagh to become a dominant offensive player when they drafted him and, for whatever reason, were not satisfied with his development as a two-way defenseman with offensive skills that might have been dormant.
Well that’s just awful, awful talent analysis. The Canadiens dropped the ball, and it appears they were all too happy to give up McDonagh to get their hands on Scott Gomez. As we all know, that trade didn’t quite work out the way the Canadiens thought it would.
Gomez had a normal year, by his career average standards, the first year after the trade, but has quickly fallen out of favor in Montreal, especially with the fans. He had the worst season of his career last year, and has just one assist in six games this season.
Meanwhile, McDonagh worked his way from midseason callup last year to top pairing defenseman this season, and a player than can eat 27 minutes on the blue line without even flinching. Throw in the cap room for Marian Gaborik, and the trade of Chris Higgins (and Ales Kotalik) for Brandon Prust (and some guy with a moustache), and this trade is one that shaped the Rangers into what we see today.
What do the players think of this, well Brandon Dubinsky said it best to Brooks:
“What were they thinking?”
There are 29 clubs wondering this…including the Rangers.