Ryan McDonagh wrote a "Thank You/Goodbye" letter to New York and to Ranger fans saying that while he he knew a trade was a "strong possibility, but that doesn't make it hurt any less to leave." (Players Tribune)
McDonagh said that he and his wife loved "every second" of being in New York and said that the feeling of going on the ice at MSG is "indescribable." (Players Tribune)
On being the captain of the Rangers, McDonagh said "there are no words. How many players get the opportunity to wear the C for an Original Six team in the NHL? I will cherish the opportunity forever." (Players Tribune)
McDonagh wrote about how everyone thought the Rangers were done in 2015 when they were down 3-1 to the Capitals and then in overtime of Game 5, Derek Stepan dropped the puck to him for the game winning goal. (Players Tribune)
"I'll never forget what an honor it was to play for the New York Rangers." (Players Tribune)
Mac, we have spent 8 memorable seasons together. We watched you grow up on our blue line, work hard every shift and sacrifice for your teammates.- New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 27, 2018
Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger.
We thank you.#NYR pic.twitter.com/9511RdvheH
Adam Rotter: I really believed that Ryan McDonagh was going to be a career Ranger. I felt that he and Henrik Lundqvist were the Rangers of this "era" that were going to have their numbers retired. Lundqvist certainly will but that won't be the case for McDonagh. Everything about Ryan McDonagh was great, starting with the Rangers trading Scott Gomez to get him. I remember the disappointment from fans when McDonagh didn't make the Rangers out of training camp as a rookie but he came up midway through the year, scored his first goal in Game 82 against the Devils, a must win game that, with some help, got them into the playoffs, and started to establish the player he would become. When Marc Staal missed the start of the next season with a concussion, McDonagh paired up and pretty much never left a pairing with Dan Girardi. They had more "good" together than "bad" and McDonagh started to take on a bigger role and become more of a dominant player. He logged so many tough minutes, played through injuries and was terrific as the Rangers made their run for the Cup.
Things changed when he became captain and while I think McDonagh was a good captain, said the right things and held people accountable, the "C" seemed to impact his play on the ice. It looked like he tried to do too much at times and only seemed to be at peak "Ryan McDonagh" in streaks. McDonagh was rarely ever bad, and even on his worst night he is still a top-four defenseman on every team, but he didn't reach those high moments that made him look like a potential Norris Winner. Even when rumblings about a possible McDonagh trade would come around I would usually never take them seriously. It became apparent over the last few weeks though that he could be moved and ultimately he was. He was a great Ranger and while he will likely be honored alongside Dan Girardi and JT Miller when Tampa comes to MSG at the end of March, the same way that Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle were, McDonagh deserves a lengthy standing ovation of his own.