Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Ryan McDonagh worth considering?

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 18: Ryan McDonagh
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 18: Ryan McDonagh /

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs pursue Ryan McDonagh and more to the point, is he the type of defenceman who will boost their challenge for a Stanley Cup?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are going great guns at the moment, sitting in the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference. At the forefront of this surge is an offence which leads the NHL in goals, entering Saturday’s slate of games.

Almost at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Leafs have allowed the fourth-most goals in the league. It’s not been an issue up to this point, but you have to wonder if the lack of a solid defence will eventually prove to be their undoing.

With this in mind, it would certainly help to boost the blue line, if the Toronto Maple Leafs are to entertain serious ambitions, come playoff time. The question is, who should they look towards, to strengthen their depth?

Enter Ryan McDonagh, at least according to New York Post columnist Larry Brooks, who believes the defenceman needs to be aggressively marketed. Brooks writes that the New York Rangers are a fringe playoff team with no hope of capturing the Stanley Cup, hence why the likes of McDonagh should be moved.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Brooks has indicated the Rangers should move McDonagh, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after next season. And on both occasions, he has suggested a trade with the Leafs, with Mitch Marner being part of the return package.

Now, we don’t believe Marner is going anywhere. Tip of the Tower‘s Austin Owens wrote on article earlier this week, indicting why the Leafs shouldn’t move the 2015 fourth overall draft pick.

This doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the virtues of McDonagh. More to the point, should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider making a move for him?

Certainly, the 28-year-old is the type of player who would conceivably help the Leafs. He’s a leader, who has good size and mobility.

In addition, McDonagh is capable of logging big minutes and is usually good for 30+ points per season. However, there are a couple of significant reasons why the Leafs would probably be better-served staying away from him.

This first relates to the 2007 12th overall draft pick’s next contract, assuming the Leafs would be interested in extending him. As far as Brook is concerned, the defenceman will be looking at a seven-year deal, between $45-50 million.

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While these figures are arguably slightly optimistic, there is little denying McDonagh will be in demand. Do the Leafs really want to get into a bidding war and pay big bucks for him, especially taking into account his age?

The second reason the Toronto Maple Leafs should stay away, is because of the Saint Paul, Minnesota native’s play. While he’s still an excellent defenceman, the general consensus is he’s not performing at the same level as a couple of years ago.

Regardless of whether the Leafs would perceive McDonagh as a short or long-term solution, do they really want a player who is projected to only get worse? Is he really worth losing something of value for, especially if he essentially does turn into a short-term rental?

Overall, as much as the Rangers’ captain would immediately strengthen the blue line, we don’t believe he is someone the Leafs should make a move for. In fairness, there is no suggestion they are actually interested in him, but we hope this remains the case.

Next: Leafs cannot trade Marner or Nylander

What’s your take on McDonagh? Do you rate him? Should the Toronto Maple Leafs make a play for him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.