As a die-hard Rangers fan who saw Mark Messier play in person when I was 8 years old, it would personally be my dream to receive a text message from Messier, who was the last Rangers captain to lead the team to the Stanley Cup. That’s what happened to Jacob Trouba recently after he was named the 28th captain in New York Rangers franchise history on Tuesday.
Last season the 6"3, 208-pound defenseman played in 81 of his team"s 82 regular season games (plus 20 playoff games) and led the team with 207 hits. The 28-year-old was everything the Rangers needed in a first-pairing defenseman who is tasked with shutting down the opposition"s best players and that is a big reason why he is receiving the honor of wearing the “C".
That being said, Chris Kreider was also a candidate to be the Rangers captain because he scored 52 goals last season and has been a leader in the Rangers locker room for the last 11 seasons, while Trouba has been a Ranger for the last three seasons. The head coach of the Rangers, Gerard Gallant recently spoke about why he thinks Trouba is the right man for the job at a press conference.
He just looked like a leader, he looked like a character guy, and he played his game every night…The biggest thing was me feeling really comfortable. I think his teammates really love him, he comes and shows up every night. Your captain doesn’t have to be your best player, but he has to be a guy who shows up and helps his teammates the most.
Rangers head coach, Gerard Gallant
Regarding the last point, Gallant made, K"Andre Miller has spent just two seasons in the NHL but is already a top-pair defenseman and a lot of that has to do with his partner, Jacob Trouba. This last regular season, the Rangers" two top-pairing defensemen, Trouba and Miller finished second and third on the team in plus-minus rating while playing in just about every game of the regular season and playoffs. This shows how durable and effective this pairing was for the Rangers during the 2021-22 season and because both are in their 20s, they should remain together a long time.
What Being the Rangers Captain Means
Before Trouba was named captain this week, the last two Rangers captains were Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh. Callahan was captain for just three seasons from the 2011-12 season to the 2013-14 season, eventually leaving right before the Rangers made a run to the Stanley Cup final.
The season after Captain Cally left, McDonagh became captain and fulfilled his duties marvellously from 2014-2018. During the McDonagh years, the Rangers made it to a Stanley Cup final in 2014 and a conference final in 2015. These years were successful but fell short of the ultimate goal which is winning a championship. After reaching the conference finals last season, Jacob Trouba seems like he is the right guy to take over where these two players left off.
Trouba is from Rochester, Michigan and that makes him the fourth straight American-born captain that the Rangers have picked. Want to know who the first American-born captain the Rangers picked during this streak of Yanks? Their current general manager, Chris Drury. Drury was captain of the Blueshirts from 2008-09 to 2010-11 and he shed some light on why Trouba is the right man to lead the current Blueshirts into the future.
Since he joined the Rangers, Jacob has consistently displayed all of the qualities we want in a leader on and off the ice. As we look to take the next step as an organization, he is a role model for all of our players to follow and the perfect choice to be our captain.
Rangers General Manager, Chris Drury
The thing that stands out the most was what Trouba did when the Rangers were facing elimination from the playoffs in their first-round playoff series against the Penguins. In game five of that series, Trouba laid a clean, hard hit on Sidney Crosby that knocked the Penguins captain out of the series and the Rangers advanced. This is the kind of player the Rangers selected as their captain heading into the 2021-22 season, a tough, physical defenseman who is not only a vocal leader but leads by example and this is what the Rangers will need heading into next year.
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