While our Devil blogger's mind wanders aimlessly over the whole Kovalchuk circus, the Rangers were able to add another quality prospect to their system. Earlier today, Ryan McDonagh signed his first NHL contract, officially joining the club that traded for him last summer as an important aspect of the Scott Gomez salary dump to Montreal.
At 21, the former Habs' 2007 first round pick (12th overall) is expected to compete for a spot on the Blueshirts' blueline this Fall. He played three years at Wisconsin teaming with familiar Ranger teammate Derek Stepan, who also recently turned pro. Listed at 6-1, 222 pounds, the St. Paul native decided to forego his senior year and a chance to captain the Badgers, who lost to Boston College for the NCAA title this past Spring. Now, the solid puckmoving defenseman looks to make the tough adjustment from college to the pros.
"I have so many people to thank," an ecstatic McDonagh said. "I obviously couldn't be here today if it weren't for my parents and all the coaches I had growing up. It's just a credit to my family and all my coaches who helped me develop as a player to get where I am today."
One of the factors in Ryan turning pro was how he fared at Ranger prospect camp where he excelled.
"The camp went really well, and it got better every day. "I just felt great after the camp and felt like this was definitely a spot for me. And they felt the same way as well. It worked great. It was perfect."
Going through it with Stepan is an added bonus.
"Derek and I are great buddies, obviously," he noted. "We are best of friends. We have been playing together at Wisconsin, and we played against each other growing up. Obviously, he was pretty supportive and everything. I bounced a lot of questions off of him, but he wasn't really drilling me too much in terms of asking what I was thinking. He kind of just left that for myself, which was good. Obviously to have seen him make the decision is exciting for both of us to be doing this at the same time."
Now, the two former Badgers will be looking to impress John Tortorella's staff this Fall. Hopefully, that'll include top tandem Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, who remain unsigned. With limited cap space, it's imperative for Glen Sather to get them signed. Just don't expect anything too soon.