One of the greatest signs of respect in sports is to wear the captain's "C" on the front of your sweater. Ryan McDonagh was given that honor on Monday when he was named the 27th captain in New York Rangers franchise history.
"Ryan McDonagh exemplifies what we want a New York Ranger to be," general manager Glen Sather said in a release. "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, who played defense for the Badgers from 2007-10, established career-highs in goals (14), assists (29), points (43) and average ice time (24:49) in 2013-14.
In the 2014 playoffs, where the Rangers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, McDonagh tied for first among NHL defensemen in assists (13) and ranked second among NHL defensemen in points (17). He established a franchise record for assists by a defenseman in one playoff series with eight during the Rangers' six-game series victory over Montreal in the Eastern Conference Finals. McDonagh's 13 assists were tied for the fourth-highest total a Ranger has had in one playoff year, and his 17 points were the third-highest total for a Rangers defenseman in one playoff year.
The St. Paul, Minn., native represented the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where he tallied two points (one goal, one assist) in six games. McDonagh ranked second on Team USA in average ice time (20:43) during the Olympics.
McDonagh isn't the only former Wisconsin star to be given an official leadership role with the Rangers, as former UW center Derek Stepan was also named an alternate captain.
Stepan has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Rangers, registering 73 goals and 124 assists for 197 points, along with 72 penalty minutes and a plus-59 rating. Entering his fifth NHL season, Stepan established career-highs in assists (40), points (57), power-play goals (five), power-play assists (13) and power-play points (18), and tied a career-high in shorthanded assists (three) in 2013-14.
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