Though the latest NHL trade rumors suggest the New York Rangers will consider trading Ryan McDonagh, it appears they will likely not do so this season
The New York Rangers have been buyers at the trade deadline for the past decade. However, this season could be different. Depending on how the Rangers do in the next month, they could be shopping several players. Obviously, pending free agents Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Nick Holden, and David Desharnais make sense. However, the Rangers are also reportedly ready to listen to trade offers for captain Ryan McDonagh as well.
That doesn’t mean they’re committed to trading him. On NBCSN on Jan. 17, NHL insider Bob McKenzie briefly touched on McDonagh and the Rangers.
"“The Rangers are not committed to trading Ryan McDonagh… But I would say that they are doing their due diligence just in the event that they may be a position if the team falls right out of it, if they get an unbelievable offer on a guy like McDonagh.”"
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It’s interesting the Rangers are even considering listening to trade offers for their captain. You rarely see a team trade the guy who wears the “C”. But the Rangers are in a unique situation. They’re sort of stuck in the middle between contending and rebuilding.
With an aging roster, a franchise goalie who isn’t getting any younger, and a fairly barren prospect pool, the Rangers could decide to rebuild. The Derek Stepan trade suggests they’re at least aware of this.
Trading McDonagh does make a bit of sense for the Rangers. First of all, they likely don’t want to give him a long-term deal. McDonagh will be 30 years old when his next contract will go into effect. If you look at the age curve for defensemen, most blueliners have seen their best years by the time they reach the age of 30. While McDonagh could be an exception to the rule, his declining play this season isn’t a good sign.
However, trading him would basically mean punting on this core of players. If you trade McDonagh, why not trade, say, Mats Zuccarello? And in that case, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist should be traded, if for no other reason, than out of mercy. He deserves a Stanley Cup. If the Rangers are going to rebuild, Lundqvist has earned the right to choose his fate.
The Rangers face a very tough decision with McDonagh. Which is why they likely won’t trade him this season unless a team blows them away. Expect them to revisit trading McDonagh in the offseason. This will give the Rangers a few more months to assess what is best for the team.
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