Thursday, May 31, 2007

NHL Draft Prospect: Ryan McDonagh

The next prospect we'll look at is Cretin-Derham Hall defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

McDonagh has been a player that has flown under the radar. He wasn't invited to the NTDP tryout camp in 2005, though some scouts felt that he was a very underrated player. In December of his junior year of high school, he was offered scholarships from St. Cloud, Minnesota-Duluth, and Wisconsin, and McDonagh chose to commit to Wisconsin. McDonagh's big break came during the 2006 Minnesota State High School tournament, when Cretin-Derham Hall won the state championship.

McDonagh's solid play carried over into his senior season, where he won Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award. He is the first player from a private school to win the award. He also earned the opportunity to skate with Team USA at the World U18 Championships.

McDonagh really opened eyes when he was rated 12th in the the NHL Central Scouting Bureau Mid-term Rankings. He moved up to 11th in the final rankings. Red Line Report had McDonagh rated 10th after being impressed with the way he handled the speed of the U18 tourney. He'll likely be drafted somewhere in the middle of the first round.

McDonagh's play has drawn comparisons to Chris Chelios. He's a solid defender that can make the occasional offensive contribution. He also plays with a nice mean streak, and has shown great leadership abilities. He plays like a prototypical NHL defenseman.

McDonagh will head to Wisconsin next fall. It's unlikely that he'll leave after his freshman. If he develops into a top player, he could leave Wisconsin as early as the end of the his sophomore season.

Biggest Strength: Leadership Ability
Needs to Improve: Consistency- Playing high school hockey in Minnesota, McDonagh hasn't faced top-notch competition night in and night out yet. He may face a bit of an adjustment at Wisconsin.

Further Reading:

Is Ryan McDonagh The Next Chris Chelios?