The New York Rangers will begin their first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins without captain Ryan McDonagh, as the defenseman remains sidelined with an upper-body injury that is rumored to be a broken hand.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters after Monday’s practice that McDonagh is “day-to-day” and “will definitely not be able to start” the series versus Pittsburgh. Either Dylan McIlrath or Brady Skjei – both rookies – will replace McDonagh in the lineup for Game 1 against the Penguins.
McDonagh appeared to injure his right hand while blocking a shot by former teammate Brandon Dubinsky with five minutes remaining in the first period of New York’s 4-2 road victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 4. He finished the session but sat out the final 40 minutes and missed the Rangers’ season-ending three-game homestand.
The 26-year-old McDonagh registered nine goals and 25 assists in 73 games this season. He also led New York with a career-best plus-26 rating.
Selected by Montreal with the 12th overall pick in the 2007 draft, McDonagh never suited up for the Canadiens as his rights were shipped to New York in a seven-player trade on June 30, 2009. He made his NHL debut with the Rangers in 2010-11, notching one goal and eight assists in 40 contests.
McDonagh enjoyed his best offensive season in 2013-14, recording career highs of 14 goals, 29 assists and 43 points in 77 games. He finished with a positive plus/minus rating in each of his first five campaigns, posting a personal-best plus-25 in 2011-12.
The 6-foot-1, 216-pound McDonagh has collected 43 goals and 127 assists in 390 regular-season games while amassing eight tallies and 34 points in 81 playoff contests. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he helped the United States win the silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and also represented his country at the 2009 World Junior Championship, the 2011 World Championship and the 2014 Winter Olympics.