Champions make hard decisions, and moving Ryan McDonagh is one of them. The veteran blueliner has been traded to the Nashville Predators for Phillip Myers and Grant Mismash.
We have acquired defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash from Nashville in exchange for Ryan McDonagh.https://t.co/CuiUSq32qS
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 3, 2022
Ryan McDonagh Traded
The hardest reality of competing for the Stanley Cup is that there is a hard salary cap. When different heroes emerge, they are going to want not just recognition but also the paycheque. If the team wants to keep their second-highest playoff scorer Ondrej Palat, they need to find the money. Likewise fellow unrestricted free agent and game seven hero against the Toronto Maple Leafs Nick Paul. McDonagh seems like the obvious choice, given his production and cost.
Despite his 40+-point seasons, scoring has never been the main of McDonagh’s value. He has fit in excellently as the third of the trio of himself, Mikhail Sergachev, and Victor Hedman. He assumed the position of defensive stalwart, doing yeoman’s work shorthanded and in hard matches at even strength. The former New York Rangers captain was quickly named an alternate with the Lightning, and he rewarded their choice ever since.
But with four seasons remaining on his current contract, he was finally asked to waive his no-trade clause.
What This Means
Ryan McDonagh was a great addition for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018. Sure, they lost in the Conference Finals that year and were swept the next. But he was an integral part of the leadership group that sent the Lightning to three Stanley Cup Finals in a row, winning twice. They knew what they had, too, signing the veteran defenceman to a seven-year, $6.75 million average annual value deal.
Make no mistake, this isn’t just a salary dump. Tampa would have loved to have kept him, but the salary cap forgives no team.* So the move – with his cooperation – was made. His new team is getting a veteran shut-down guy with some scoring touch and excellent leadership qualities.
*Yeah, we know. Can’t claim LTIR in the offseason, though.