That title is only somewhat sarcastic. Given how well McDonagh has played since the Olympic break, the Rangers will need him to stay healthy in order to advance in the playoffs.
Just how good has he been?
“He’s been a force out there,” head coach Alain Vigneault told Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com. “He’s got to be getting some consideration for the Norris.”
Since the Olympic Break, McDonagh has averaged just under 29 minutes per game. He's scored six goals and seven assists. Two of those goals have come while shorthanded, and he has three game-winning goals, all while remaining plus-nine.
“He’s been lights-out all year,” Marc Staal told Strang. “It seems like everything he touches turns to gold right now.”
Quite simply, without McDonagh, the Rangers are toast. He is the best defenseman they have had since Brian Leetch.
But there has to be some concern about his workload. Given that he will likely play 30 or more minutes a game in the playoffs and that he had a heavy workload at the Olympics, the Rangers have to be concerned whether or not he can handle it physically.
That said, he's only 24 and in great shape, so it shouldn't be too much of a concern.
What Rangers fans are seeing is the growth and development of the league's next great defenseman. Luckily for them, he's signed through 2019, as per CapGeek.