Report: Rangers prospect Ryan McDonagh set to leave Wisconsin, join the club

ryanmcdonagh.jpgWhile Glen Sather continues to play hardball with Rangers fans by giving enforcer Derek Boogaard a four-year contract while not getting a contract settled with restricted free agent defenseman Marc Staal, he is making sure to take care of the growing stable of talented youth in Manhattan. Of course, if you’re a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers, you may be a bit upset by this.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers will be signing senior defenseman Ryan McDonagh to an entry-level contract and having him join the Rangers at training camp in September.

The Post has been told that McDonagh, who had been undecided between turning pro and returning to Madison for his senior season, was won over by the environment at last week’s Rangers’ prospect camp during which he mixed with fellow hopefuls and the team’s front-office personnel, notably general manager Glen Sather, coach John Tortorella and special assistants Mark Messier and Adam Graves.

While we’re sure that having that amount of superstar prowess could help woo anyone into making a decision, the real person that helps McDonagh make his choice is his Wisconsin teammate and Team USA World Junior Championship star Derek Stepan. Stepan made his choice to leave Wisconsin and join the Rangers less than a month ago.
What’s incredible about how the Rangers managed to get McDonagh is that he was part of the package the Montreal Canadiens sent to the Rangers to get Scott Gomez. McDonagh was the Habs’ first round pick in 2007, seventh overall. For all the grief Glen Sather has earned as GM of the Rangers, you can’t say he’s been completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to stocking up on potentially great youth. Whether or not Stepan and McDonagh could be ready to go in the NHL next season remains to be seen.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)