Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh will be getting married in two weeks, and Monday, he cleared the decks for a wedding without any business interruptions.
McDonagh, who is part of the foundation of the team's defense, signed a six-year contract extension worth $28.2 million.
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"I'll have my family there, and I'll be able to take it all in on what will be a special day," the 24-year-old Minnesota native said in an interview, "without having to check my phone."
With the deal, McDonagh becomes the Rangers' highest-paid blueliner. As a restricted free agent, he was in the final season of his three-year, $875,000 entry-level deal, plus performance and signing bonuses, which resulted in a salary- cap charge of $1.3 million. This agreement keeps him with the Rangers until he's 30. It includes three seasons of what could have been unrestricted free agency and a limited no-trade clause.
"I was hoping they were thinking multiple years, like this worked out," said McDonagh, who will have an opportunity to create more offense and expand his role under new coach Alain Vigneault. "It was the right fit for me."
McDonagh, who already has begun training and skating, has not spoken with Vigneault but has heard positive reports: "That he's very professional and respects both young guys and veterans."
The change behind the bench, with Vigneault replacing John Tortorella, didn't factor at all in the talks, he said. "I have the utmost respect for Torts,'' he said. "He gave me an opportunity and taught me a lot, especially about the mental side of the game. I wish him nothing but the best."
So negotiations went smoothly. "I don't think there were really any hiccups, big battles or arguments," McDonagh said. "I had a good exit meeting and they said they'd get started right away . . . We just needed the pieces to fall into place. You want to have that security but you also want to be confident that the team is confident in you."
A former first-round pick of the Canadiens who attended the University of Wisconsin, McDonagh was acquired from Montreal in the trade for Scott Gomez in the summer of 2009. He has blossomed into a top-pair defenseman while filling in for the sidelined Marc Staal for parts of the past two seasons.
McDonagh averaged 24:21 on ice (second to Dan Girardi's 25:24) and had four goals and 15 assists in 47 games last season. He added a goal and three assists in 12 playoff games. In 2011-12, a full season, he had seven goals and 25 assists.
The Rangers have about $6.5 million remaining to re-sign other restricted free agents: center Derek Stepan, who will be in McDonagh's wedding party; forward Carl Hagelin, defenseman Justin Falk and Mats Zuccarello.
Gilroy heading south. North Bellmore native Matt Gilroy, a defenseman who played with the Rangers last season, has signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers, according to NHL.com.
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