For the first time in several seasons, the New York Rangers are expected to be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. For the last few weeks, it has been reported that the Rangers might choose to forfeit a playoff spot this spring, to focus on a retooling in New York. Veteran players are said to be on the block, including forward Rick Nash and defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
With that said, The New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis believes that McDonagh could fit perfectly with the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose roster is in dire need of a quality blue liner. Since the start of the campaign, the Leafs have been on the lookout for a top defender and the perfect answer might be in New York City.
While McDonagh has a 10-team no-trade list, Cyrgalis doubts he would pass up an opportunity to go to Toronto.
"It is a place that McDonagh would fit perfectly, and largely the biggest benefit for the Leafs would be that it’s not just for this season, but next season, as well, when the 28-year-old McDonagh is set to finish up his contract that carries a relatively modest annual salary-cap hit of $4.7 million. That’s a year-and-a-half for him to rediscover his game, which has notably dropped off this season while he’s dealt with both abdomen and back injuries," writes Cyrgalis.
The Post reporter also adds that Toronto's depth in good young forwards is a perfect fit for what is needed in New York. Cyrgalis suggests if Rangers GM Jeff Gorton could “pry away the likes of either a Mitch Marner, William Nylander or Zach Hyman, plus some sort of high draft pick, a deal could be more than worthwhile for both sides.”
"McDonagh might fit into the Leafs’ long-term picture, as well. Once he is relieved of carrying a blue-line partner like a declining Dan Girardi or Nick Holden, he might finally revert back to the Norris Trophy-caliber player he was in the years leading up to the 2014 Stanley Cup final. A pairing with 26-year-old Russian Nikita Zaitsev has to be enticing."
The Leafs would have to consider though McDonagh’s eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency status, as it could also be a concern. Toronto might prefer to focus on a younger defenseman available, but who knows, maybe McDonagh's experience is what's needed...?