Ryan McDonagh is the new captain of the New York Rangers, replacing forward Ryan Callahan, who was traded away late last season.
The 25-year-old McDonagh was selected as the team’s 27th captain, general manager Glen Sather announced Monday night in a news release. Fellow defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, and forwards Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, were chosen as alternate captains.
McDonagh is the fourth-youngest Rangers captain and the 11th defenseman to hold the title. The Rangers joined the Dallas Stars as the only teams to have three consecutive American-born captains. Chris Drury wore the `C’ before Callahan was given the honor in 2011.
Callahan was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning at last season’s trade deadline in the deal that brought St. Louis to the Rangers. New York went with a trio of alternate captains during its playoff run to the Stanley Cup finals.
Last season, McDonagh was chosen as team MVP and given the Players’ Player Award, which recognizes the Ranger who best exemplifies what it means to be a team player.
He was the 10th Rangers defenseman to win team MVP honors and the first to be given both awards in the season since fellow defenseman — and former Rangers captain — Brian Leetch did it in 2002-03.
”Ryan McDonagh exemplifies what we want a New York Ranger to be,” Sather said. ”He has earned the respect of his teammates through his commitment to excellence, both on and off the ice, and the passion with which he plays on a consistent basis. He is the ideal choice to lead our team as its captain.”
McDonagh set career highs with 14 goals, 29 assists and 13 power-play points last season. He also tied the Rangers record for short-handed goals by a defenseman in a season with three — matching Leetch’s mark set in the 1988-89 season.
During the playoffs, McDonagh was tied for the lead among NHL defensemen with 13 assists and was second in that group with 17 points.
In 246 career NHL games over four seasons, McDonagh has 26 goals and 77 assists, and a plus-65 rating. He was acquired by the Rangers from the Montreal Canadiens, along with Chris Higgins, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik, for Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto on June 30, 2009.
McDonagh was chosen by the Canadiens with the No. 12 pick in the 2007 draft.