Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record reports that Ryan McDonagh is excited about Alain Vigneault’s emphasis on getting defensemen up the ice with more consistency so they can help the attack…
“I know I’ve got a responsibility in my own end first and foremost. But in this day and age, defensemen create second and third opportunities. I’m definitely trying to instill in my mind that I’ll step up and make those plays. I’m confident in myself and I see myself become even more of an all-around player.”
Gross adds that McDonagh began skating again last week and is getting on the ice two to three times per week right now, in addition to working out five days a week.
…the one element missing from McDonagh's game has been some offense. And while he is far from being Brian Leetch, I think Torts' emphasis on defense stunted McD's growth in the opponent's zone. I mean, Torts didn't even feel comfortable putting him on the point of what could be considered the worst power play in the history of the NHL last season. Less emphasis on shot blocking along with Vigneault's strategy of spreading ice time around should also keep McD fresh allowing him to be more effective in both ends of the ice.
…if you think that McD's contract is a bargain now, imagine when he adds a little offense to his game. Thank you Montreal.
…the other defenseman I'm really curious about seeing play under Vigneault is Del Zotto. I know Rangers fans have been throwing his name around as a possible trade candidate lately, but I'd rather give Del Zotto one last chance to figure it out in this new system than see him lighting it up for another team. Allowing Del Zotto the freedom to get up the ice, might just be what the doctor ordered. Especially if Vigneault can pair him up with a responsible partner such as Girardi or one of the new guys (Falk or Johnson). This is the final season of his contract, so if it doesn't work out and the Rangers can't move him by the trade deadline, at least they won't be stuck with him for multiple years.
A couple of you have been asking, so here's the breakdown of McDonagh's contract per Cap Geek…
2013-14 – $4,000,000
2014-15 – $4,300,000
2015-16 – $4,500,000
2016-17 – $5,000,000
2017-18 – $5,100,000
2018-19 – $5,300,000
These numbers average out to $4.7 million per year which is McDonagh's annual cap hit.