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Rangers confirm multi-year deal with Ryan McDonagh

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, right, checks

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, right, checks Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Chipchura, left, during the first period. (Dec. 17, 2011) Credit: AP

The Rangers have confirmed a deal with defenseman Ryan McDonagh on a multi-year pact, expected to be in the six-year range.

With the pact, the 24-year-old Minnesota native, who was a restricted free agent, is likely to become the Blueshirts’ highest-paid blueliner. 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.

The deal, according to one report, is worth slightly more than $28 million, an average of $4.7 million per season. McDonagh and his agent were reportedly seeking $5 million per season.

McDonagh, a former first-round pick of the Canadiens who attended the University of Wisconsin, was acquired from Montreal in the trade for Scott Gomez in the summer of 2009, and has blossomed into a top-pair defenseman. The agreement will keep him in New York until he's 30, which includes two seasons of what could have been unrestricted free agency.

In 47 games last season, he averaged 24:21 on ice, (second to Dan Girardi’s 25:24,) had four goals and 15 assists, and 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 will have at least $6.5 million remaining to re-sign center Derek Stepan, who is not eligible for arbitration, forward Carl Hagelin, who is, defenseman Justin Falk, who was acquired on July 1, and possibly Mats Zuccarello. The deadline for players to file for arbitration is Wednesday. For clubs, it’s Thursday.

Teams can exceed the $64.3 million salary cap ceiling by 10 percent during the summer, but must be compliant by opening night in October. So the Rangers  still have room to maneuver.

McDonagh, a 6-1, 213-pound lefty who attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, was the team’s top priority among its five restricted free agents because he was going to command the most money. He came to New York with Chris Higgins and defense prospect Pavel Valentenko for Gomez, forward Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto in a deal that now resembles a grand theft.

“This is my first time having to go through a negotiation, so I’m really all ears and eyes,” McDonagh said on May 27, breakup day at the MSG Training Center. “I’m going to have to go with my agent says and just take it day by day.”

New York Sports