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Report: Rangers prospect Ryan McDonagh set to leave Wisconsin, join the club

Jul 4, 2010, 11:54 AM EST

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ryanmcdonagh.jpgWhile Glen Sather continues to play hardball with Rangers fans by giving enforcer Derek Boogaard a four-year contract while not getting a contract settled with restricted free agent defenseman Marc Staal, he is making sure to take care of the growing stable of talented youth in Manhattan. Of course, if you’re a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers, you may be a bit upset by this.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers will be signing senior defenseman Ryan McDonagh to an entry-level contract and having him join the Rangers at training camp in September.

The Post has been told that McDonagh, who had been undecided between turning pro and returning to Madison for his senior season, was won over by the environment at last week’s Rangers’ prospect camp during which he mixed with fellow hopefuls and the team’s front-office personnel, notably general manager Glen Sather, coach John Tortorella and special assistants Mark Messier and Adam Graves.

While we’re sure that having that amount of superstar prowess could help woo anyone into making a decision, the real person that helps McDonagh make his choice is his Wisconsin teammate and Team USA World Junior Championship star Derek Stepan. Stepan made his choice to leave Wisconsin and join the Rangers less than a month ago.
What’s incredible about how the Rangers managed to get McDonagh is that he was part of the package the Montreal Canadiens sent to the Rangers to get Scott Gomez. McDonagh was the Habs’ first round pick in 2007, seventh overall. For all the grief Glen Sather has earned as GM of the Rangers, you can’t say he’s been completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to stocking up on potentially great youth. Whether or not Stepan and McDonagh could be ready to go in the NHL next season remains to be seen.

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