New York Rangers roundtable: Best trade of the Lundqvist era

TAMPA, FL - MAY 22: Martin St. Louis
TAMPA, FL - MAY 22: Martin St. Louis /
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DENVER, CO – JANUARY 20: Ryan McDonagh
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 20: Ryan McDonagh /

Peter Reichert- The McDonagh trade (to the Rangers)

On June 30, 2009, former general manager Glen Sather made one of the best trades in franchise history. He sent high-priced and underwhelming center Scott Gomez, along with Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto, to Montreal for Chris Higgins, Pavel Valentenko, and prospect Ryan McDonagh. The trade was originally meant to be a salary dump, clearing Gomez’s cap hit.

While Sather did accomplish that goal, he also unknowingly accomplished something far greater: he landed a bona fide number one defenseman. While McDonagh was originally a throw-in in the deal, he turned into something far more.

McDonagh made his NHL debut on January 7th, 2011, and earned his first career point, an assist, on January 20th. A few months later, on April 9th, he scored the first goal of his career, against the New Jersey Devils.

Fast forward a few years, to the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. McDonagh had just had the best statistical season of his career, posting 14 goals and 43 points on the season. However, he really made some noise in that Conference Finals, posting 10 points in six games as the Rangers advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994.

The next season, McDonagh was named captain, the 27th in franchise history. Pretty impressive for a throw-in, huh? While McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lighting back in February, he had a fantastic career on Broadway, filled with some memorable moments.

Next: Five best prospects who will play overseas in 18-19

The Ryan McDonagh trade is the best trade that the Rangers have made in the Lundqvist era. They acquired a future number one defenseman for basically nothing, and were able to use the money saved to sign sniper Marian Gaborik. Not bad, Sather. Not bad at all.