Making sense of the McDonagh/Boston rumors

February 13, 2018, by

ryan mcdonagh

Over the next two weeks, we are going to see Ryan McDonagh’s name linked to about every team imaginable. The Oilers could use him. The Coyotes could use him. The Islanders could use him. Basically every team in the league could use him. He’s a 28-year old top-pairing defenseman with a year and a half on his deal at a cheap cap hit ($4.7 million).

The latest string of chatter has him as a target for the Boston Bruins. Not surprising. They are making a run and it appears to be an arms race between them, the Lightning, and the Leafs. All three could use his services. All three have at least in part been linked to him. An in-division bidding war certainly bodes well for the Blueshirts.

The link to Boston is interesting, if only because they don’t seem to have the kind of prospects that both Tampa and Toronto have. That’s not to say they are a bad fit, though.

Stanley Cup of Chowder did a nice breakdown of these rumors from the Bruins’ side of things. They bring up solid points. For starters, David Pastrnak is off the table. It isn’t happening. Ditto Charlie McAvoy.

The same can be said for their higher priced veterans like Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, and Backes. Not because they are untouchable, but because it makes no sense for the Rangers. Torey Krug also fits into this category, as he’s already 26 years old.

If the Blueshirts are looking at a roster player, then they are likely looking at someone like Danton Heinen or Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk arguably has the most value and is probably viewed as the best player on that list, with Heinen right behind him. I hope that Brandon Carlo isn’t the guy the Rangers target, mostly because the other three are better. But he’s an option as well.

Where I disagree with SCOC is in some of their trade proposals, which makes sense. I lean towards overvaluing McDonagh, and they lean to overvaluing their own guys. It’s par for the course. But the major area where I disagree is putting someone like Austin Czarnik, a 25 year old AHLer, in the same category as Anders Bjork. Also worth noting that Kevin Miller and Adam McQuaid have no value in a trade like this, other than roster balance. In reality, the first three trades they list are simply no good for the Rangers.

Keeping that in mind, I’d like to stick with the theme of using the Keith Yandle trade as a barometer, and try to be as unbiased as humanly possible. A young but not elite roster player (John Moore, who was 24 when he was traded), a top prospect (Anthony Duclair), a 1st, and a 2nd for McDonagh at 50% retained.

The problem with that is the Bruins don’t have anyone that really fits the Moore role in the trade. Maybe Matt Grzelcyk? That might be the roster piece comparable to Moore. I honestly don’t know much about him, but on paper it looks like he could be.

If Grzelcyk is the roster piece, then the Rangers would look at the B’s top prospects. SCOC lists Ryan Donato (2nd, 2014), Jake Studnicka (2nd, 2017), Urho Vaakanainen (1st, 2017), and Trent Frederic (1st, 2016). The thing here is that none of these guys are considered close to NHL ready, and that’s what Arizona got with Duclair at the time of the trade.

I think we need to abandon the Yandle trade as the framework for a McDonagh trade if Boston is involved. Those pieces don’t match up. So now we are looking at a better quality piece off the roster, and either a top prospect or a first round pick. Something else worth noting, that is very difficult to quantify, is that McDonagh is seen as more valuable and better than Yandle. So based off that, the price increases.

The Rangers are likely going for high ceiling, and guys that can put the puck in the net. DeBrusk or Heinen fit that mold. I get the impression both are interchangeable in terms of value. Both are wingers (Heinen can fake it at center in a pinch). Both are young. Both score. Heinen has better numbers this year (shooting 14%, mind you), but DeBrusk was a first round pick.

Even if we are centering a deal around DeBrusk or Heinen, there needs to be pieces added. Carlo is the immediate thought, but I don’t think the B’s deal two young roster pieces like that. My guess is the second big piece is a prospect that is a little further out from the NHL.

Side note: I can see the B’s sending two roster pieces if it’s Carlo and Bjork. I don’t think the Rangers will get Carlo and one of DeBrusk or Heinen.

This is where things get a little grey for me. I’m not well versed in the B’s prospects, so I’m going to use the list SCOC gave above. Studnicka is 19 years old in five days and in his 2nd full season in the OHL. His numbers aren’t bad, but they don’t jump off the page either.

Both Frederic (20 years old) and Donato (21) are in college, playing for Wisconsin and Harvard, respectively. Both are left handed centers. Both have solid numbers. I’d have to assume the Rangers target one of these guys or a first round pick. That’s another critical piece here.

It may not sit well with B’s fans, but you gotta give to get in this league. McDonagh at $2.35 million per year is worth a lot, and it’s going to cost them. My best guess is DeBrusk or Heinen, and one of Frederic, Donato, or a 1st. There would need to be some roster balancing in the trade as well.

The Bruins are an intriguing trade partner when it comes to Ryan McDonagh. They could certainly use the help, but also need to remove a big piece from the current roster to make it happen. Perhaps the reward of landing McDonagh for two playoff runs and at the same time keeping him away from Tampa and Toronto is enough to make that decision. Perhaps not.

"Making sense of the McDonagh/Boston rumors", 2 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.


  1. SalMerc says:

    How about DeBrusk AND Heinen plus a first or 2 second rounders?

    • Dave says:

      Not happening.

      • Leatherneck says:

        Not happening from us….actually….not from the Bruins….let them go get someone else then….

        forget the Bruins and laugh and move on from them

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Then no deal. They’re still only prospects were John Moore had been in the league. Duclair a one a second and Moore for Yandle. That’s what the Rangers gave up. We shouldn’t expect nothing less. DeBrusk, Heinen a first and third.

    • Marky Mark says:

      Debrusk, Heinan, and a first would make the deal.

    • 43 says:

      What about for just DeBrusk and Heinen?

      • 43 says:

        Also, with G’s buy-out cap hit and McD’s retained salary and Smith’s AHL cap hit, how much dead cap space is this team gonna carry?

        • Leatherneck says:

          Make them pay or go elsewhere….ask for the moon and do not negotiate down

          McD has value…..way higher than hanzel….Guastaad….Yandle and so on that fetched a haul

        • tanto says:

          Doesn’t make a difference when you’re carrying enough ELC kids. McD is just for 1 more year and I suspect Smith will be back eventually with the Rangers. Girardi’s hit decreases significantly as well.

          • Chris A says:

            Actually, the real pain with G starts next season and the one after that. $3.6M per season in dead cap space.

            But you’re right about the high number of players on ELCs the Rangers are going to be dressing next season.

            It’s possible the Rangers have 8 players on ELCs playing regular minutes next season:

            And there are more that can either swap in for those names or be added to the list. Strange times to be a Rangers fan.

  2. Stevem says:

    Would be interesting if they wound up landing Debrusk in a deal for McD only because we traded his dad Louie to Edmonton as part of the Messier deal back in ’91. If McD were to go though I’d much rather see him go to a Western Conference team. But at this point it’s all about the best return you can get.

  3. Marky Mark says:

    Debrusk AND Heinan OR Debrusk and a first, or the Bs can go pound sand. I’m tired of the Rangers being trade raped. You want Mac truck for your playoff run? Well, as an Eastern Conference team you need to pay. You don’t want to pay that much? There are many other teams who would be happy to have his services.

    Gorton and Sather need to play hard ball with every offer they get. For once, they have all the leverage.

    • Dave says:

      They also don’t need to trade McDonagh at all.

      • Marky Mark says:

        Exactly, and they should be reminding every team who makes an offer of that.

      • Marky Mark says:

        Exactly. They should be reminding every team who makes an offer of that as well.

      • Stevem says:

        Absolutely, I would put myself in that camp. I’d rather not trade him at all.. but what I think I would do, is strip the C away from him.. nothing against Ryan at all.. but I think it’s too much for him. Have no one wear the C and just go with a Captain by Committee type thing.

        • 43 says:

          I think putting the C on McDonagh was a mistake; he hasn’t been the same player since he got it. That said, taking away the C seems like a bad idea.

          Rangers have no luck picking captains. Jagr bails for KHL, Drury wilts, Callahan gets greedy, McD becomes timid.

        • upstatetom says:

          can’t agree more. no capt is needed. they’re big boy , they don’t need to be lead, they can do it on their own, less pressure.

    • wwpd says:

      ” For once, they have all the leverage.”

      they had all the leverage talking to TB about MSL too … 🙂

  4. joe cafardo says:

    I have posted on this before. The Bruins have done a marvelous job transitioning style of play, Ice Leadership and fusing older and newer guys to create a contender….about 2 years early. Also…as I have posted…having a Bergeron/Marchand duette helps a lot. I also love how these guys draft and develop. All of these guys you mention are draft picks who playing lights out–Heinen, DeBrusk, Grzelcyk are playing very well and important roles. I also like Donato at Harvard who while not nearly ready has high hockey sense and skill. Bjork needs time and is not ready for prime time ( and maybe wont be). NO on anyone else. Carlo is not that good; Czarnik is overhyped and I dont see it; I dont want Pastrnak. McAvoy is a huge talent and they are not giving that guy up for no one. SO…I think we ask for DeBrusk,Donato, plus a 1. They will say get lost…we counter with both and a 2. Settle for Debrusk and a 1. Not anything less from them.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      “I also love how these guys draft and develop.”

      2015 NHL draft saw them trade assets to accumulate picks 13 Jakub Zubril, 14 Jake Debrusk, 15 Zachary Senyshyn…….all were considered off the board picks. Mathew Barzal was picked by the Isles at 16. Head-scratcher at the time and in hindsight.

    • Eugene says:

      With no McAvoy on a plate this trade doesn’t have any sense, it’s just for trade

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Also…..” I dont want Pastrnak”.

      What?!??!? He’d be the best return we could get out of that town given production/age/contract/upside.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Joe, you do realize that you’re constantly touting a Boston team that in the last 3 seasons has had a 2-season playoff drought and a first-round playoff KO? Maybe you can chill on beating the drum for Boston as a perfect franchise, they’re owned by a guy who’s a total scumbag and a lockout orchestrator. For all their positives, the Bruins are still a team that traded Tyler Seguin and chased a Cup-winning coach (Claude Julien) out of town.

      McDonagh is worth 2 players and 2 high-round picks. Boston should be told to take a walk with these smalltime offers. McDonagh is every bit as good as anyone on that D, except maybe Chara, and even that’s a tossup.

      • joe cafardo says:

        Everyone who is throwing daggers….I am catching em all and none have hit your target: My Head.
        1. I live in Boston and NOT a fan of the Bruins…but a fan of professional and well run teams. They Are. HAT…a LOT of teams missed on Barzal. He went 16 for hex sake! That said…Look who is on the senior roster we are interested in: ALL are picks developed by them. I dont care what pundits think….I See What I See. They are loaded with forwards and centers…and will NEED a McDonough.
        2. Eugene. You may as well ask for Mathews from Toronto. Non Starter for McAvoy.
        3. Pastrnak. I watch this guy every game. Yes…he can score. And he is learning to play defense from one of the best set of D men… BUT…he becomes very average when Bergeron and or Marchand are not there with him. Pastrnak’s possession numbers completely tank when he’s not on the ice with Bergeron and Marchand. He does not make others better.
        4.Mancune…Again. When I see this team I see what we can become…they made the move to dump Lucic et al…and got faster and younger. And our owner is not exactly Eddie DeBartolo.

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          Our owner is a schmuck too, without question. But at least he’s slightly less evil than Jacobs. All I’m saying about Boston is that the Bruins aren’t all that—they’re unlikely to come out of the East this year and it’s been years since they’ve even won a playoff series. A few good months for them doesn’t cancel out years of mismanagement and underachievement. I’ll grant you that they are looking like they’re headed in the right direction at the moment, but one more major injury to their top guys and that’ll be the end of them this season.

          • Joe Cafaro says:

            Well I will agree the last point. Bergeron gets hurt. That’s it. Done. He is indispensable shooting and playing D.

  5. Reenavipul says:

    Expansion draft is in 2020.

    So only picks and non pro prospects should be wanted. The pick doesn’t even add up to much as it will be bottom third of the 1st rd pick, so best to have a long term deferment option.

    • Chris A says:

      You’re not wrong in being mindful of the coming expansion draft when considering potential deals, but it’s hard to plan around something where no one knows what the rules will be. My guess, is that after seeing a number of the league’s GMs outsmart themselves and accidentally turn Vegas into a regular season force, that the NHL Board of Governors will make sure that Team #32 will not have such a fantastic crop of players to choose from.

      If I had to guess, I think forcing teams to protect contracted players that are still waiver exempt, but have been in N. American pro hockey for over two seasons, will be the biggest change. That rule forced a lot of the expansion draft weirdness we witnessed as teams (correctly) scrambled to protect their favorite prospects.

      Also, the NHL should realize by the next expansion draft that when there is only one team drafting, there is no need to expose so much talent from around the league at one time. If we want to think along conspiracy theory lines, maybe that was the point? The NHL was afraid of having another terrible team in a desert city so they made sure to goose Vegas’ chances for a strong start as much as possible.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        I agree on your conspiracy theory re Vegas—a good team arising quickly in Vegas makes tons of $$$ for the league. A bad team flopping in one of the USA’s biggest tourist spots would’ve made the NHL look foolish (Coyotes redux); now they’ve got a team in a prime spot that can quickly capture the attention of the casual fan.

      • Reenavipul says:

        They’ve already said the draft rules will be the same. $640mm will make sure that happens. Certainty is also good for GMs as they have way more time to plan things out.

        On a 7-3-1 draft: Vesey is likely dealt before being exposed, Hank has to be protected(so no Shestyorkin until 19-20) and they lose either Shatty or Smith.

        F: Buchnevich, Chytil, Andersson, Hayes, Miller, Kreider & Zibanejad

        D: DeAngelo, Skjei…maybe Graves if something changes over the next 2 years?

        • Chris A says:

          I agree the money is a nice motivator, but a lot can change in 3 years. Also, not every organization is willing to sell their soul for a mere $20M.

          Just because the league says something now, while courting buyers, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen. Think of all the crazy things you say to impress someone when you first meet them, now think of how many of those crazy things you never actually followed through on.

          I do like your protected list though. Except for Krieder. I doubt the Rangers are going to protect a 30 year old power forward (likely) making a ton of money. Maybe Chris Kreider will be the James Neal of the next expansion draft? Also, there’s a good chance Day is on that list as well as his clock starts ticking next season.

          • Reenavipul says:

            When someone gives you $640 million and you don’t follow through on terms, that’s one hell of a lawsuit.

            I hear what you’re saying on Kreider, but with his skating he wouldn’t be on terminal decline for a while. I certainly wouldn’t protect Vesey over him unless the resection doesn’t address his. Letting issues.

            • Chris A says:

              Yes, if the league reneged on the purchase agreement, there would be a massive lawsuit. But we’re only talking about public statements at the moment.

              I’m not insinuating the Rangers should protect Vesey over Krieder 3 years from now. I’m just throwing it out there that protecting a very expensive 30 year old power forward with a long and expensive contract likely isn’t the wisest decision. Furthermore, if there’s no one else to protect at that time, the Rangers are screwed anyway and this whole ‘rebuild’ was a Buffalo sized failure.

              • Reenavipul says:

                That 7 is a solid core, you could go rental/retread to fill gaps over the next two seasons while keeping flexibility.

                Players drafted this season would still be exempt in a 2020 draft(which is the go date) so if your rebuild hasn’t worked it’s because they drafted poorly. You’re looking at a seriously cost controlled, cheap, talented lineup with Hank on the last year of his contract. Your set for years with tons of cap room.

                That’s why I find keeping both Chytil & Andersson over here(especially the latter) when it was looking probable for expansion at the start of the season.

          • Reenavipul says:

            “NHL insider and TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun also announced that the league has guaranteed the same player pool to Seattle and has stated that their access in terms of building their team will not change. Somewhat controversial for NHL fans who believe that the 2017 Expansion Draft stripped teams of key role players and gave the Vegas Golden Knights an unfair advantage.”

    • Dave says:

      This is also why you likely won’t see Andersson or Chytil this year. Need the contracts to slide.

      • Chris A says:

        Dave, correct me if I’m wrong, based on the expansion draft rules from last summer, Andersson or Chytil will need to be protected in a summer 2020 or summer 2021 expansion draft. They already signed with the Rangers so their clocks are already ticking. Not signing them last summer and leaving them in Europe (like Shesty) is the only way to prevent their clocks from starting.

        From NHL.com: ‘All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).’

        Andersson and Chytil will be starting their 4th pro seasons in N. America in October 2020 meaning they should be eligible for the expansion draft

        • Dave says:

          The rules are weird. Their “pro clock” only starts when their contracts start. This is basically a free year for both in the AHL, since both deals slide a year. That means in the 2020 expansion draft, they are second year pros, not third.

          • Reenavipul says:

            ELC contacts slide for CBA purposes, but AHL & ECHL are considered pro for expansion rules while Europe leagues do not.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hearing Andersson may be up after the trade deadline.

        • Reenavipul says:

          That would burn a year of ELC for sure, need to do a schedule generator to find the overlap on how many games he can get between Hartford & NYC yet still stay under.

          • Richter1994 says:

            It would for sure but I agree with it. Assuming that Andersson and Chytil make the team out of camp next year, their training camp starts now.

            With Chytil, they feel he needs a couple of months to fill out physically before he jumps to the NHL.

            • Reenavipul says:

              With your ear to the tracks, how tall is Chytil now vs his combine measurement?

              • Richter1994 says:

                How tall? Don’t know my friend. I don’t think height is the issue, he just needs to fill out physically.

                AND KEEP HIS HEAD UP.

              • Reenavipul says:

                It’s that Chytil was 6’1.5″ at the combine, that would make him the runt of his family. If he kept on growing, you’re looking at a beast of a player.

        • Reenavipul says:

          There’s a stretch at the start of March where that would make sense, then send him down to finish out the AHL season and possibly the playoffs, otherwise go back to Europe for Worlds.

          • Richter1994 says:

            I would like to see him get some games here. I would be shocked if they both were not on the roster next season, right out of camp.

  6. Eugene says:

    No McAvoy no MacTruck….

  7. Ray says:

    McDonagh is 28, the Bruins signed Chara at 29. So let’s not think of McD as a guy at the tail end of his career. Likely he will still be playing when everyone the Rangers get in return is out of hockey.

    Humorous fact: Ranger fans lament the Wade Redden signing, but really it wasn’t that bad — Seriously, Ottawa had Redden and Chara and couldn’t afford both, so they let Chara walk. That’s a sadder Redden story than the Rangers can tell.

    • Reenavipul says:

      If McD grows another 6″ and grows his wingspan out a foot, then we’ll talk. The core issue still hasn’t fixed itself, has started effecting his back and can possibly scotch any deal this season.

  8. Leatherneck says:

    I wouldn’t even look at the Bruins if I am JG….nor Tampa unless Tampa is a good solid hockey trade

    I would look at teams in the 12 to 20 range of the draft

    I would look at a hockey trade with the likes of Oilers…their #1 pick included in the trade

    • tanto says:

      Yet if you get enough quality picks from ANY team you can parlay that into a better 1st pick. I say deal with whomever offers the best TOTAL value period end of story.

      • joe from newburgh says:

        The value we get back is what it’s all about. Anybody (and I mean that literally) on any team is available, IF the price is right. Also, since we may be making multiple deals, there may be ways of leveraging them to improve the situation even more. I’m just trying to figure out how many top picks we need to bundle to go after the #1 overall pick.

  9. Chris F says:

    Kreider reporting he’s good to go. Needs a practice tomorrow and then we should see him back on the ice soon.

  10. Richter1994 says:

    To me, if McD is traded, the TB needs to pony up Serg +, Boston would have to pony up McAvoy +, Leafs would have to pony up Marner +, or Dallas would have to pony up Mari H. +.

    If not, then you don’t trade McD, period. Trading McD for secondary assets is a brutal mistake. You can only do this once.

    • wwpd says:

      if only there were someone around to hand out silk ties for comments like this, Richter

      • Richter1994 says:

        Ty. 🙂

        This is a business transaction. The Rangers have a very valuable asset. If teams are looking to fleece the Rangers or not pay fair market value, then the Rangers are better off keeping their asset.

        I would be pissed if McD goes to the Bees for the 2nd level choices. Bees don’t get to dictate if they want McD. Saying that “these first 10 guys are off the table” is not acceptable.

        Same thing with TB. I hear “depends on how the Rangers feel about Cal Foote…” That’s BS. No Serg, no McD.
        Simple as that.

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          Absolutely. And especially make Tampa overpay for McD a bit, just like NYR did for St. Louis.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Right, Stevie Y squeezed every bit out of the Rangers.

            Now it’s the Rangers’ turn. Serg, a first, and another prospect should do.

            • Bobby B says:

              Richter1994 if we had Stevie Y the last 2 years as our GM ( instead of the Gorton/Sather brain trust) Hank would have a Cup on his resume. The guy knows how to build a team, he rips off the teams he trades with, see the Marty St Louis trade, and many others!!

              • Richter1994 says:

                You might be right Bobby. Unfortunately Uncle Glen won’t let go.

                I was laughing when I saw that he “agreed to stay on.”

                GO… AWAY…

            • wwpd says:

              Silk tie to you. One for the englishman too.

  11. Ranger17 says:

    Remember what we got for Leetch from Toronto . A total nothing in return and Leecth is in a class all alone by himself .We were supposed to be getting top end prospects,next year we have a lot of D men to choose from .
    We should be able to ice a fairly good D group out of that

  12. bernmeister says:

    I am hopeful that timing may create an opportunity such that, since Trouba is injured and RFA, we may be able to do something around Trouba + for McD +.

    Having said that, my fallback position, since Leafs are not coughing up better pieces and currency TB has sucks, is
    McD at half + 3 3rds [2018, 2019, 2002]
    to Boston for
    2018 and 2019 1sts
    + Zboril, Cehlarik + Koppanen
    {= avg 3rd value, being a former 1st, 3rd and 5th. Zboril is LD, the other 2 are W and F, and have size}

    Possible if it is known that there are serious high bidders, Bruins may add to block deal to a rival.

    While holding out for best deal is nec to a point, be careful not to wait too long, and have another Talbot situation. Don’t want to have situation where overplaying hand results in buyer dictating terms to us.

    if no bluer chips
    then what I have above
    no Foote, etc crap from TB