When the Rangers dumped center Scott Gomez on the Montreal Candiens they were lucky enough to pick up the rights to defensive prospect Ryan McDonagh as well, but almost a year later and McDonagh has not showed up on Broadway, has commited to another season at the University of Wisconsin, and now we’re hearing that he might never play for the Blueshirts, at all.
Rangers, who conducted organizational meetings last week, are believed keenly interested in signing Ryan McDonagh, whose rights they acquired from Montreal in the Scott Gomez deal, but the Wisconsin defenseman has a fair amount of leverage as he awaits an offer.
McDonagh, who turns 21 next month, would play his senior year for the Badgers if he does not turn pro. If he remains unsigned through next year, McDonagh would become an unrestricted free agent as of Aug. 15, 2011.
Chances are, then, if the 6-foot-1, 215-pound McDonagh, who is regarded as a proficient, stay-at-home type physically ready for the NHL, does not sign this summer, he will not sign at all with the Blueshirts.
And though it would seem necessary for Sather to offer the Entry Level max, we’re hearing McDonagh will make his decision based less on the contract and more on his perception of the Rangers’ program.
Thoughts: This is a rough one. McDonagh doesn’t seem to be a sure thing top-2 defenseman, but seems more like a solid contributor that every team needs on the blue line. Not to mention as a young player he would really help out the Rangers cap crunch.
If the Rangers mess this up I can’t kill them because just dumping Gomez’s contract was reward in itself, but if they fail to sign this kid it is a serious misstep especially if the reason he doesn’t want to sign is because of the state of the Rangers organization. Which is the real tragedy here. Not only has Glen Sather put together a team that cannot compete on a nightly basis, they are boring, and appear that they may already be a laughing stock in this league.
Not signing a player because he has a deep desire to play somewhere else or if they are simply asking for too much money is one thing. It is another thing entirely if they start failing to sign players because they do not want to be associated with your organization is another thing entirely and is certainly indefensible.
Let’s hope the Rangers can pull it together to convince this kid that he needs to stay in the organization. Unfortunately that might involve ditching Sather and that just doesn’t look like it is going to happen.