McDonagh’s Lightning will bring his defense to Team America

As we begin to discuss the Olympic team roster for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, the focus here will be on the defensive team that Team America decides to bring. There are a lot of new faces that will push back the old, but Ryan McDonagh should be one of two defenders back after eight long years. The other is John Carlson.

McDonagh’s experience, winning streak, two-way play and defense make him one of Team USA’s Olympic rosters.

McDonagh Brings Experience & Wins Pedigree

McDonagh will be the oldest defender on the team, bringing with him experience not only in the international arena but also when it comes to meaningful games. He was a part of Tampa Bay Lightning who became successive Stanley Cup champions. Both years, he was a key piece in the team’s defence. As they say, attack wins, defense wins. That’s exactly what he helped build in Tampa Bay.

Lightning defender Ryan McDonagh
Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Roy K. Miller / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The group stage games of the Olympics may have more to do with the regular season in the NHL, but when the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals take place here, that’s when the games tighten like they do in the playoffs. and it becomes even more competitive. As the games tighten and become more physical and tested, defense becomes a huge factor in the outcome of the game.

Although McDonagh has not enjoyed the greatest international success during his career, he has experience playing in all types of international competitions, especially the most important one: the Olympics. Olympics. He hasn’t competed internationally since 2016 due to competition for the Stanley Cup and COVID-19, but he was part of Team USA in the IIHF U18 World Championship, World Youth Championship. IIHF, Ice Hockey World Championships, World Hockey League, and 2014 Olympics. He and Team USA will looking for a better result than fourth in this tournament.

McDonagh’s Defensive Side of the Game

What most of the other contenders don’t deliver, McDonagh excels in setting himself apart from most other defenders and enhancing his worth. He is a solid defender in any damage unit, as only Brandon Carlo has more time among active American defensive players, by a second. Not only does he provide consistency, but also provide leadership to a younger team.

McDonagh can eat a few minutes, as he has averaged more than 23 minutes per night throughout his career, and that includes an 18:44 average time on ice (ATOI) during his rookie season. , bringing that total down. In terms of kills alone, he was on the ice for 2:47 minutes a game. Six of his 12 seasons in the NHL, he has received Norris Trophy votes, the highest he has been eighth in the 2013-14 and 2018-19 seasons.

He has a career age plus 200, 78 years older than the next closest active American defender. That speaks not only to his defensive responsibilities, but also to the offensive ability he can provide. On top of that, he has averaged 1.99 blocks per game in his career and 1.22 hits per game. Neither of these things should be taken lightly, as it is an important part of keeping the ball in and out of his team’s net.

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Who will McDonagh compete with for a spot on the team?

The eight defenders that are expected to fill the backline positions for Team America are as follows: Charlie McAvoy, Adam Fox, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Quinn Hughes, John Carlson, Jaccob Slavin and McDonagh. (from “Expected 2022 US Olympic men’s hockey team roster”, NBC Sports, September 3, 2021) There will be a lot to find out in the lead-up to the Olympics, such as defensive pairs and who will play in which situation or game.

Those who perform well are more likely to get to play in the bigger games while the tournament is on, but McDonagh should at least be called up more then at least to face Team Canada who are performing well in the division. their team. His two-way play and defense would be more useful in stopping opposing players than adding to his offensive line, something that Team America’s forward group in particular didn’t need. Although McDonagh has added offense to his game, he is better known for his solid defensive play and offense that should be left to the likes of Fox, Werenski and Jones.

Ryan McDonagh Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/ Hockey writers)

Some of the players who will be dropped from the team will be former 2014 Olympic teammates Ryan Suter and Cam Fowler. Suter is past his prime and when it comes to competition, McDonagh offers more excitement in the areas Team USA will be looking for than Fowler, although he may still be invited to try. Jeff Petry would have been an option if this were at any time during the past two seasons, but he’s been down and might not even get the call.

Other defenders that should be left off the list are Kevin Shatenkirk, Torey Krug, Justin Faulk, and Tony DeAngelo. All of these players have a more offensive mindset, which will put them in competition with highly skilled offensive defenders who have been predicted to have sealed positions.

While McDonagh will have some tough competition for a spot on the US Olympic team, everything he brings to the table to enhance his overall value makes for a great pick. Even if he doesn’t get to play in every game, his style of play will be very beneficial to slowing down the top teams and helping his team win better. McDonagh’s Lightning will bring his defense to Team America

Subhankar Mondal

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