Nashville Predators: Ryan McDonagh Return is Huge For D-Corp

Ryan McDonagh #27 of the Nashville Predators skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 01, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. The Predators defeated the Devils 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ryan McDonagh #27 of the Nashville Predators skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 01, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. The Predators defeated the Devils 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Nashville Predators are getting a huge boost to their defensive corps with the return of defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The veteran defenseman has not played since December 2 against the New York Islanders.

This is a big deal for the Predators and could help spring them up even more after quite a nice showing against the Edmonton Oilers Monday night. When paired with captain Roman Josi, the team has a solid pairing.

Let’s take a look at why McDonagh returning is huge, and why the timing couldn’t be any better for the team.

Nashville Predators Get McDonagh Back At The Perfect Time

As previously mentioned, this comes at the perfect time for the Preds. They are coming off a solid win against the Oilers where their offense showed up. The team made some great strides on Monday, and having one of the team’s top defenseman in the lineup will only help the team build on what they have shown us.

Before McDonagh got injured, both he and Josi had allowed zero goals in just over 100 minutes of ice time together. Quite the defensive pairing, I must say.

As the team looks to heat up and start “playing to their identity,” McDonagh’s impact will be felt on the ice. Given the team’s play Monday night, McDonagh should only boost and propel the Predators forward.

It’s worth noting that rookie Jordan Gross did a commendable job in McDonagh’s absence and showed that he can be called upon again if the situation arises later in the season.

Josi-McDonagh Pairing Has Been Stellar For Nashville Predators

As mentioned, Josi and McDonagh have kept pucks out of the net when they have been on the ice this season. When both are paired together, they are able to give the defensive end some support and, more importantly, Juuse Saros.

The play in front of Saros has been questionable as of late, with defensive breakdowns and turnovers galore. Adding McDonagh back into the lineup will help to stabilize the defense and help get the offense going.

It’s hard to start attacking when you are playing hard defensive minutes in your own zone. The Predators made strides in that area on Monday against the Oilers.

Josi and McDonagh have proven that they can play solid defensively while on the ice. With the defense stabilizing and Josi’s ability to spring an offensive attack, this pairing being back together will definitely make an impact.

Closing Thoughts

McDonagh being back is going to give a very noticeable boost to the Preds’ lineup. He couldn’t be coming back at a better time, right off an impressive win against the Oilers. I am confident that he will only help to build on what the Predators are doing right.

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Josi and McDonagh as a pair have been lights out. Both as a pairing are able to play lockdown defense and protect Saros’ crease, all while having an offensive upside and the ability to spring an attack from seemingly nowhere.

In a season where offense has been next to nonexistent, any kind of offense from anywhere is a welcome sight.

I am confident McDonagh will pick up right where he left off with Josi. Having him back will be felt in the locker room and on the ice. The defense will be a bit better when his pairing is on the ice, and I couldn’t be happier to see him return.