Ryan McDonagh (Getty Images)
The Rangers made defenseman Ryan McDonagh their new captain Monday – and Adam Proteau says the decision was an easy one for GM Glen Sather to make.
When the New York Rangers had to name their 27th team captain in franchise history, they could've gone the greybeard route and given the 'C' to Martin St. Louis or Dan Boyle. But those two players are much closer to the ends of their careers than the beginning – and if they team was looking for a long-term captain, there was really only one choice to make.
The Blueshirts made that choice, naming 25-year-old defenseman Ryan McDonagh captain late Monday.
Now entering his fifth NHL season, McDonagh has become the Rangers' best blueliner and is neck-and-neck with goalie Henrik Lundqvist as their most valuable player. Last season, McDonagh led the team in minutes (with an average ice time of 24:49) and set personal bests in goals (14), assists (29) and points (43). He's also locked up at an almost criminally-low $4.7 million cap hit through the 2018-19 campaign, so you know he's not going anywhere.
McDonagh is the fourth-youngest captain in franchise history and the 11th D-man in team history to serve in the role. But he wouldn't be given the nod if he didn't deliver on the ice. More so than any other young Ranger, he's done that. So GM Glen Sather's decision was easy. McDonagh is going to be the bedrock of the Blueshirts' back end for the foreseeable future, and sewing a 'C' on his jersey was a good way to underscore it.