The Rangers haven’t had a captain since Ryan McDonagh in 2018. It’s about time for the Rangers’ Captaincy situation to be settled.
There have been many great names to wear the C in the New York Rangers organization for the last ninety-four years including, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Vic Hadfield, Harry Howell, Jaromir Jagr, and the list goes on. I believe it’s time to add another name to that list. Here are my candidates, including the pros and cons, to be the 29th Team Captain in New York Rangers franchise history.
Candidate #1: Marc Staal
Marc Staal has been the longest-tenured skater on the Rangers for a while now. He was drafted by the team 12th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. This season will be Staal’s tenth year as an alternate captain. He has always been a leader in New York as well as being one of the hardest-working players on the ice. However, there are some reasons why Staal shouldn’t be the Rangers captain. He’s 32 years old, and his play has declined significantly for the past few years. Secondly, his contract is up at the end of the 2020-21 season, and at the amount of money he’s making right now, it’s going to be difficult to bring him back as a Ranger.
Candidate #2: Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider has been one of the Ranger’s best players since his rookie season in 2012-13. Even when he was drafted by the Rangers 19th overall in 2009, it was clear he would become the player he is today for the Rangers. The Rangers have clearly been committed to keeping Kreider in their plans, as he has been wearing the A for a few years now. However, Kreider’s contract runs out at the end of this season. With only $4 million in cap space, it will be difficult to give Kreider more than the $4.625 million he has been currently making by the end of the year. Don’t forget, his name has been the topic of several trade rumors lately.
Candidate #3: Mika Zibanejad
Mika Zibanejad has been a star ever since being acquired by the Rangers in 2016 in exchange for Derick Brassard. He’s 26 years old and still has a ton of hockey left in him. He’s worn the A for a while now, so it’s time to give him the C. In my opinion, it’s pretty obvious he is in the Ranger’s long-term plans. As for reasons not to give Zibanejad the Rangers captaincy, I don’t think there are any legitimate reasons, other than the fact that his contract is up in a few years.
Dark Horse Candidate: Jesper Fast
If the Rangers were not to choose any of the three players above, they would probably select Jesper Fast, mainly because this is his 3rd season being an alternate captain for the Rangers.
Ultimately, it’s up to the Rangers’ management to make their choice. Now that we’re in another season without a captain, let’s hope they decide soon.
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Connor Demo is a contributor for Overtime Heroics. You can follow him on Twitter.