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RYAN MCDONAGH'S AGENT SAYS TRADE AWAY FROM TAMPA BAY IS 'CRUSHING'; NOT HIS CHOICE

JUL 4, 2022  (8H52)      TIM TUCKER
After four years with the Tampa Bay Lightning that included two Stanley Cups and three appearances in the final, Ryan McDonagh is now a member of the Nashville Predators. His agent, Ben Hankinson, told The Athletic it's not the way his client wanted things to go down.

"All of a sudden, to be told, 'You're not coming back, it's a business decision, we can't have you back,' it's hard for him to accept that," said Hankinson. "There's the emotional connection and the business side of it. It took what seemed like forever, only three or four days, but they wanted to move forward. He's heard from every single member of the (Lightning team). Crushing."

Hankinson said McDonagh was called into the office of Lightning GM Julien BriseBois on Wednesday and was told the team wanted to move him due to the salary cap. Hankinson called the process "head-spinning."

"I think it took a couple days to realize what to do," Hankinson said. "Do you fight it and figure out a way to stay? Which he wanted to do. But, realistically, it didn't happen. And it's not always by the player's choice. The good news is that Ryan is motivated and in a great spot right now. It wasn't his choice. But given the circumstances, we found a good spot."

BriseBois told The Athletic that in a world where the flat salary cap didn't exist, McDonagh would still be with the Lightning. But, it was a necessary move in order to clear up space to sign guys like Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak and Mikhail Sergachev.

"If we didn't live in a flat salary-cap world, it would never have crossed my mind to ask Ryan McDonagh to waive his no-trade," BriseBois said. "Because I would have been ecstatic to know that I had him under contract for four more years."

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