Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mac Coming Up Big for Blueshirts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mac Coming Up Big for Blueshirts

Article excerpt

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Ryan McDonagh, just 95 games into his NHL career, has quickly developed into one of the best young defensemen in the league and, quite possibly, the one with the most complete game among the Rangers' talented blue-liners.

So it wouldn't be shocking if Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson sought to have McDonagh included in any trade package for Rick Nash he discusses with Glen Sather. It would be shocking if the Rangers GM was agreeable to any such request.

"I don't think anybody on this team is thinking about it," McDonagh said. "We've been a successful group. In the end, it's not up to us. But everybody in here has got the mentality that what we have going here is really good."

The Eastern Conference-leading Rangers, who have won four straight, face the slumping Blackhawks tonight at Madison Square Garden.

McDonagh, 22, a first-round pick of the Canadiens in 2007, fleeced away by Sather two years later in the Scott Gomez deal that also freed salary cap space for the Rangers to sign Marian Gaborik, has goals in two straight games. That includes one with 11.8 seconds remaining in the first period of the Rangers' 3-0 win at Boston on Tuesday night.

McDonagh has six goals and 15 assists in 55 games this season, while turning into a shutdown defenseman. He plays on the Rangers' top pair with All-Star Dan Girardi. McDonagh, who averages 25:21 of ice time, is second in the NHL with 140 blocked shots while Girardi is third with 136.

"In my short time in the league, I knew I needed to continue to make things happen faster, to get my shot off faster," said McDonagh, who was recalled from Connecticut (AHL) in December last season and had one goal and eight assists in 40 games.

His goal in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Capitals was a perfect example of how his offensive game has grown. Holding the puck near the blue line, McDonagh patiently slid to his right to give himself a shooting lane past a sliding Troy Brouwer. …

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