Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, who suffered an upper-body injury that has lingered since a 6-5 victory Jan. 25 in San Jose, has been shut down for a while.
The defenseman is considered day-to-day but probably will not make the upcoming trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota, coach Alain Vigneault said.
McDonagh became the sixth regular sidelined for Friday’s game against the Flames. Already out were Chris Kreider (blood clot, rib resection), Kevin Shattenkirk (meniscus surgery), Jimmy Vesey (concussion), Marc Staal (on IR with cervical strain) and Pavel Buchnevich (concussion).
McDonagh, who has two goals and 24 assists in 49 games, called the 6-1 loss to the Bruins on Wednesday “probably one of the worst games of my career and one of the worst games I’ve ever been a part of in my Rangers career.”
Speculation has been rising that McDonagh, who has one year remaining on his contract, could be offered around the league before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, or possibly during the summer. Former University of Wisconsin teammate and fellow Blueshirt Derek Stepan was shipped to Arizona just before last June’s draft.
Smith sent to Hartford
Defenseman Brendan Smith, 29, who was signed to a four-year, $17.4-million contract last summer before he was eligible to hit the market as a free agent, cleared waivers and was assigned to Hartford. Smith has one goal and seven assists in 44 games for the Rangers this season. The Rangers will receive about $1 million in relief on Smith’s $4.35-million salary-cap hit . . . Vesey skated again Friday morning but will have to practice with contact Saturday in order to play against Winnipeg on Sunday, Vigneault said . . . John Gilmour and Neal Pionk are the first Rangers defensemen to make their NHL debuts in the same game since Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto on Oct. 2, 2009, in Pittsburgh, according to Elias Sports.