Who Will Be The Next New York Rangers Captain?
Top 5 Candidates to Be Next New York Rangers Captain
The New York Rangers are without a captain after trading Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis. While the trade shakes up the locker room in a big way, the team is not without other players who can step up and assume the leading role. Between homegrown players, those acquired in trades and free agent signings, the Rangers have a lot of leadership on the squad and have choices as to the next player to don the 'C' in Rangers blue.
The Rangers have had Callahan as their captain for the past three seasons, since the start of the 2011-12 campaign. Before that, Chris Drury wore the 'C' and led the team. Prior to Drury, Jaromir Jagr was the captain of the squad. Each of these players came from a different background. Callahan was brought through the farm system and developed by the organization. Drury was a major free agent signing coming over from the Buffalo Sabres, while Jagr changed the makeup of the team when he was acquired from the Washington Capitals. All three of these players were captains of the team, yet they joined the Rangers in different ways. This should give coach Alain Vigneault options when naming a new captain.
This roster is very unique. There are players from different background with different levels of experience. Some were brought up through the entry draft and the AHL. Others were acquired in major trades and some were signed as free agents. These are the top five candidates for the captain role.
5. Dan Girardi
Dan Girardi has been an assistant captain for the Rangers and is one of the leaders on the squad. While he is one of the older players on the team, he has played a strong leadership role on and off the ice and wouldn't be out of place as a captain for the team. He was also recently re-signed to a long-term contract and will be with the squad over the next several seasons.
4. Rick Nash
Rick Nash has previous captain experience with his old team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was the major acquisition going into the shortened 2012-13 team and has been a good offensive weapon for the Rangers, though somewhat inconsistent. He is the most skilled player on the team, which makes him a candidate to wear the 'C' again, yet there are other players who warrant it more.
3. Marc Staal
Overcoming several injuries throughout his career, including an eye injury and a concussion, Marc Staal is an assistant captain on the team and has been a major part of the Rangers since 2007. He is the longest tenured Ranger on this list, and his overall play as a reliable and hard-nosed defender shows his dedication to the team. He is an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season, so long-term stability could be a concern.
2. Ryan McDonagh
Ryan McDonagh has quickly risen through the ranks to become the best defender on the Rangers. A former draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, he was acquired in the Scott Gomez deal and since being brought up in 2010, he has been one of the best players on the team. He is a leader in his play and had an important role with Team USA at the Olympics as well. He will be one of the top choices for the captaincy when Vigneault makes his decision.
1. Brad Richards
Brad Richards was signed by the Rangers as a free agent from the Dallas Stars, and is the oldest player on the roster. He has also been one of the most productive players for the team and with the recent acquisition of St. Louis, he is unlikely to be bought out. He is also one of only two players, along with St. Louis, to have won the Stanley Cup before. He is a veteran leader who would make a great choice as the next captain of the Rangers.