Geek of the Week: New Normal For Ryan McDonagh

by Scott Maran on May 27, 2018


Even though the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff run has ended, they’re still primed for contention for years to come. Despite falling to the Washington Capitals, they still managed to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins to advance to the conference final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs- still an impressive feat. At the trade deadline, the Lightning prepared for this by trading for the Rangers star defenseman Ryan McDonagh. However, as this playoff run has emphasized, McDonagh’s time in Tampa kills most of his fantasy value.

Career as a Ranger

Ryan McDonagh was never an elite fantasy defender on the Rangers yet he still held plenty of fantasy value. During the 2013-14 campaign, McDonagh burst onto the scene with 43 points, a product of him finally getting some power-play time and more responsibility in an offensive role. From there, McDonagh would go on to score 135 points in his next 270 games, averaging a 41-point pace over a full season. Last season saw him tally 42 points in 77 games, and that was with only a 3.9 shooting percentage.

This Season in New York

Even though McDonagh’s shortened season with the Rangers was a bit of a mixed bag, he still provided decent fantasy value. His low peripherals hurt his potential value but offensively McDonagh had an underrated start. His 26 points in 49 games with New York would have put him on pace for 44 points over a full season. Over that time he had the 30th highest point-per-game rate out of all NHL defensemen who played in at least 10 games.

Moved to the Lightning

Yet on the Lightning, we’ve seen McDonagh’s value take a huge hit. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, McDonagh has only provided the 59th most overall fantasy value out of all skaters in the postseason (using an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, and hits). When considering that most players above and below him have played fewer games (like Pavelski almost playing half as many), McDonagh’s overall ranking appears much more bleak.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Joe Pavelski

58

24

10

2

6

30

6

11

Ryan McDonagh

59

23

17

0

5

22

0

26

Ryan Ellis

60

23

13

0

5

30

1

12


Through 17 playoff games, McDonagh only registered five points (all of them being assists). He recorded zero power-play points and averaged just a little over a shot per game, while his hit totals are strikingly average for the playoffs. This poor fantasy performance only adds to the growing pile of evidence we have that McDonagh’s fantasy value while with the Lightning is not what it used to be. Even during the regular season, we witnessed a huge decline in his value.

Post-Deadline Production

Through 14 regular season games, McDonagh actually performed even worse than in the postseason, with only one goal and two assists. He was once again held to zero power-play points and finished with only 22 shots in 14 games, which averaged out to 128 over a full season. That would be McDonagh’s second-worst total over the last five years, when he’s routinely averaged a rate of between 160 and 170 shots per season with New York. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, he was only the 224th most valuable player over the end of the season.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Ryan Carpenter

223

-10

40

7

9

70

0

63

Ryan McDonagh

224

-11

30

2

6

43

0

43

Mathieu Perreault

225

-11

36

3

5

71

3

64


It’s not a good thing when Ryan Carpenter is outperforming you (even though to be fair he did play in 10 more games).

Conclusion

With plenty of offensively gifted players in Tampa, McDonagh has had to transition from being The Guy in New York to just being a support player on Tampa. Unfortunately, this means much less offensive opportunity and in the long-term his point production will continue to suffer because of it. And considering that McDonagh already didn’t have much going for him besides his point totals, he likely won’t provide much in terms of value. With McDonagh still signed in Tampa for another season, don’t expect much from him next year.

 

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