Over the 88 years the Rangers have operated in New York, only 27 men have gotten the privilege of being named Captain. From the first year the Rangers have ever played hockey, Bill Cook started it off for the Broadway Blueshirts. Looking up and down the list, there are a lot of Hall of Famers in there, players like Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate, Phil Esposito, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch.
Last year the Rangers traded Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis and two draft picks in the 2014 and 2015 NHL Drafts. I thought it was the worst trade I have ever heard of, Callahan being our captain and all. For years he was the heart and soul of the Rangers and I thought he would stay in New York for his entire career. Unfortunately, he wasn’t providing as much as he could and GM Glen Sather wasn’t on the same page with Callahan as far as a contract goes.
During the offseason, the Rangers also bought veteran center Brad Richards out of the rest of his 9 year, 60 million dollar contract. Richards was a very big hit on the salary cap, and to my surprise he under preformed in the Stanley Cup Final. You would think Richards and St. Louis would be unstoppable together, it ended up being the case that St. Louis played well while Richards seemed to look sluggish at times.
Now that Richards and Callahan are gone, we have only one Alternate captain, and that is Marc Staal. The following is who I think will wear the letters this season:
Ryan McDonagh is very deserving of wearing the C on his sweater this year. Many think he’s too young, I think he’s got it in the bag. It’s not his Playoff performance that has earned him the chance, it’s his play all season long. If you look at McDonagh’s game from his rookie season in 2011-2012, all the way up to now, you’ll notice that McDonagh has remained consistent over the years. Better yet, he has gotten better.
I see Marc Staal remaining one of the alternate captains as well. Yes, he has missed a lot of hockey over the past couple of years, but he has remained vocal in the locker room and has come back and played well, recovering from multiple injuries. Staal is a very big body and is solid on the blue line. His offense gets a bit stronger every year too, and playing under Alain Vigneault that is something very good.
But the choice for the 3rd captain, in my opinion, is a hard choice. You can go with Martin St. Louis, who was the leader in Tampa for many years even while Vincent Lecavalier wore the C. Or you could go with Dan Girardi, who serves as interim alternate captain while Staal is hurt, or in the case of last season, wore the A because there was no captain. With either choice you couldn’t go wrong, both are leaders on the ice and will be ready when duty calls.
I’d love to know what you guys think! Leave a comment below and tell me who you think should serve as captain.