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McDonagh Set to Leave Wisconsin For New York

DETROIT - APRIL 08:  Ryan McDonagh #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a goal with teammate Scott Gudmandson #1 in the first period against the RIT Tigers on April 8, 2010 during the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Matthew CalamiaCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2010

According to the New York Post, Wisconsin defenseman Ryan McDonagh is set to forgo his final year of college and sign with the New York Rangers.

McDonagh, 21, the first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2007, was acquired last season as part of the Scott Gomez trade.

Going into this past week's Ranger prospect camp, McDonagh told reporters that he was leaning towards going back to school to captain the team and get his degree. Towards the end of the week, multiple reporters said that his tone had changed, and that he wasn't as sure what he would be doing.

McDonagh would sign an entry level contract worth $875,000, plus bonus that will be negotiated. 

This is good news for the organization and bad news for some defenseman. The Rangers will have a solid, young defensive core. Once they re-sign Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, 23 and 26, respectively, along with Michael Del Zotto, 19, makes up one of the most solid defenses in the Eastern Conference. Michael Rozsival, although not popular with fans, is only 31.

This spells Hartford or a plane ticket out of New York for either Wade Redden or Matt Gilroy. Redden, 33, signed a six year, $36 million contract in 2008, and has underperformed since day one. Reports are that- barring a stellar training camp - that he and his $6 million cap hit will head to Hartford. 

Gilroy, 25, has one year remaining on his two-year contract with the Rangers, may be traded if Redden has a strong camp. Reports indicate that Glen Sather is looking to add another veteran defenseman, something that can also spell the end for Gilroy.

The signing is very good news for Ranger fans. McDonagh, along with Derek Stepan, who signed last week, are the future of the organization. Expect both to make the team this season, along with Evgeny Grachev and possibly Dale Weiss. 

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