Easy decision, I know, to pick the team MVP as the most impressive Ranger in 2013-14.
But Ryan McDonagh has far and away been the best player this team had all season long.
He made the jump from “very good defenseman” status to “elite” defenseman, seemingly overnight. But that’s what happens when you have the drive, determination and focus that Mac Truck has.
For two seasons now, McDonagh has been one of the league’s best shutdown defensemen, irritating the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Claude Giroux on the regular, but the popular thought was that there could be more to the St. Paul, MN, native’s game; namely, offense.
With the introduction of Vigneault and the implementation of his more up-tempo. style, McDonagh found himself in good hands.
Fourteen goals and 43 points later—both of which were career-highs—and the Rangers have a Norris Trophy candidate on their hands.
They say you need to be highly proficient both offensively and defensively to win the Norris—which doesn’t make sense, considering Erik Karlsson won the award two seasons ago—well, McDonagh is easily in the top-three, in terms of defense in the league, and ranked in the top-20 in scoring amongst defensemen—ahead of the likes of perennial Norris hopefuls Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty and tied with Ryan Suter.
Yeah, I’d say the deserving—but probably overlooked—Norris candidate was the most impressive Ranger in 2013-14.