For the first time since Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh was traded, the team seems poised to name a captain for the upcoming campaign. After Chris Drury’s recent comments on Thursday ahead of the club’s prospect development camp it seems that the team is now ready to start the next chapter in the franchises historic history.
For awhile it seemed like the Rangers future Captain was either going to be Chris Kreider or Mika Zibanejad. However with the new change in direction with the front office and down behind the club’s bench and all the issues that the club faced last year it appears as though the team will go in a different direction.
In this piece I will give three opinions on who I believe the franchises next captain will be and the cases for and against that potential selection.
This one seems like an absolute slam dunk of a choice because of his age and having recently been named the top NHL defenseman by securing the Norris Trophy. Fox will surely be part of this club’s core for the next 10-12 years and he has shown he can handle the pressure of playing for his hometown team. However I would caution against heaping the kind of pressure that would come with naming the hometown kid captain of the team he grew up rooting and wanting to play for. Not to mention the expectations that are already going to be placed on Fox’s shoulders from being the defending Norris Trophy winner going into his 3rd NHL season. While the upside is certainly there for Fox, as he showed this season, naming him captain at such a young age could be placing an anchor around this truly gifted youngster. Let’s not forget that even the best Rangers struggled with the burden of carrying that letter on their left shoulder in Brian Leetch and Ryan McDonagh.
He’s been the target of a lot of criticism from many Blueshirts fans because his contract is substantial and he doesn’t have the eye popping numbers to justify it but Trouba has been a very good Ranger in his two years in New York. While he hasn’t been an offensive dynamo, Trouba has brought some hard hitting defensive reliability to the Rangers top four defense that the club has missed for quite some time. He plays with the edge that ownership and this current regime has been looking for and he’s also been a growing leader within the room the last two years. It couldn’t be more evident what a big piece of the pie Trouba is than when his season was effectively ended by Matt Martin in a late season matchup on Long Island. With Trouba out it seemed like the Rangers were just missing their heart for the final few games of the season. While saying that, Trouba’s contract does make his time on Broadway seem a bit up in the air because the Rangers do have a young and upcoming d-man in Nils Lundkvist who could be a far cheaper and better replacement. Would it really be worth naming a captain only to wind up potentially trading or buying them out again? I do believe that if Gerard Gallant truly believes in Trouba’s leadership style and ability that he would be an excellent choice as captain if we could somehow get reassurances that Trouba will be here for the long haul. He also currently wears an “A” for the club so it may be of natural progression.
Much like Trouba, Lindgren brings that hard nosed tough defensive style that immediately made him a fan favorite. Lindgren is also under contract at a far more manageable number than Jacob Trouba and you can expect that when he’s due for a raise again it won’t be much more than his 3M per year that he’s making now. While he might not seem like the obvious choice because he lacks the “sizzle” that Fox, and to a lesser extent Trouba brings, he is a steady and stabilizing force that would be a great choice for the club. Lindgren always comes across as a guy that is even keel no matter if the Rangers are up or if they’re trailing. While he plays with a fiery edge he never seems to lose his head when things are becoming chaotic which is a fantastic trait in a leader for a club.
While many may look to the group up front for captain material, I tend to look at the steady hand and those that display leadership qualities from the gate. It would not be a surprise to me if any of the three above are named the Rangers captain once the puck drops on the season.Embed from Getty Images
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