Ryan McDonagh

For those familiar with my blog posts, it’s evident that I harbor a penchant for delving into the past and reflecting on former Rangers players and teams. It’s important to note that my inclination for nostalgia doesn’t stem from discontent or disillusionment with the present – quite the opposite, in fact. By nature, I am a nostalgic soul, drawn to unraveling the elements that defined the experiences of us Rangers fans over the past three decades or so.

This time, my focus shifts to a defenseman whose journey I’ve closely tracked from the onset of his career, relishing in witnessing his integral role during a remarkably successful chapter in Rangers history.

On February 28th, 2018, just a few days after the Rangers shook things up at the trade deadline, making waves by sending Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller to Tampa, I found myself reading a sincere letter from McDonagh on The Players Tribune. He took the time to express his heartfelt gratitude to the New York Rangers and us, the fans, for all the support.

It was a reflective piece, reminiscing about being stuck in traffic before a playoff game, scoring that unforgettable overtime playoff goal against Washington, and the sheer joy of seeing the “C” on his jersey. McDonagh shared memories of the people he encountered as a Ranger and the warm reception from the fans.

I played in the most famous arena in the world.

In front of the best fans in the world.

In the best city in the world.

And I mean every word of it.

Thank you, New York.


Ryan McDonagh

As I reached the end of the essay, McDonagh admitted he’s not usually one to get emotional about player trades or departures, but this one hit differently. He underlined the indelible mark McDonagh left on the franchise, even without a recent Stanley Cup win. The memories of the extended playoff streak and the shared joy with the team are etched in our minds, with McDonagh playing a pivotal role.

I couldn’t help but reminisce about the trade with Montreal in 2009, initially focused on parting ways with Scott Gomez. However, the addition of prospects, especially McDonagh, caught my attention. Tracking McDonagh’s progress through Hartford and witnessing his NHL debut in 2011 fueled my excitement. McDonagh surpassed expectations, becoming a standout defenseman for the Rangers, making the trade’s impact more profound for me and the rest of the Blueshirt faithful.

While I recognize hockey as a team sport, McDonagh’s individual contributions made a significant difference over the years. His defensive prowess, skating ability, and versatility were crucial in various game situations, contributing to the team’s success. I can’t forget McDonagh’s standout playoff performances, including that thrilling overtime winner against Washington.

In looking back on McDonagh and his time as a Ranger, I commend him for his years of dedicated service, leadership, and exemplary play. He truly embodied the captaincy of the New York Rangers, displaying qualities we value as fans. He wasn’t flashy or someone who dazzled on the ice every night, but he got the job done.

Even though many of those runs didn’t result in a Stanley Cup, McDonagh proved that he could hold himself up in one of the biggest markets, and one of the biggest stages in hockey, and displayed what it meant to be a New York Ranger.


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