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Ryan McDonagh Is Adding a Second ‘C’ to his jersey

The New York Rangers will have their first press conference of the 2014-15 campaign on Thursday this week. Many things will be discussed about the reigning Eastern Conference champs, but the main focal point will be the naming of the 27th captain (Mark Messier had two separate stints with the ‘C’) in franchise history. The New York Daily news reported earlier this week that Defenseman Ryan McDonagh is expected to get the honor. The 25 year-old blueliner would fill the void left by the Ryan Callahan trade, since the Rangers didn’t name a replacement captain for the rest of the 2013-14 season.

It’s tough to find any fault with this decision. Any other logical captain on the roster has a reason to not be named the team captain:

Martin St. Louis – He’s one of the most respected players in the league, but he only has one year remaining on his contract.  I can’t see him playing another year or two beyond that if he doesn’t retire at the end of the season

Rick Nash – He has experience with the captaincy from his days in Columbus. But he was basically a captain by default since he was far and away the team’s best player and the face of the franchise. The Rangers went through that type of captaincy with Jaromir Jagr, and it never felt right.

Dan Girardi – He’s worn the ‘A’ on and off for a few seasons, and that role suits him well. He’s homegrown, and was an undrafted player that earned his way up the ladder. He wouldn’t have been a bad choice, but there are better options.

Marc Staal – This is the one guy that you could make the best argument for instead of McDonagh. He’s another homegrown guy, he leads by example, and he’s a strong presence on the rink and in the locker room. The knock against him is that this is the last year of his contract. While he’s expressed a desire to stay a Ranger beyond this season, and both sides are working at getting a deal done, picking a captain shouldn’t become an annual thing if things don’t work out between them.

Ryan McDonagh has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise alongside goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ryan McDonagh has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise alongside goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When factoring in all of McDonagh’s qualities, he’s the best candidate to take the leadership torch. The Minnesota-native has been a part of the organization for over three seasons, and is under contract for another five seasons. His rate of production has improved in each of his first three seasons, and he’s grown to become one of the better all-around defensemen in the NHL. He led the team in average time on ice among skaters, and he’s a key part of both the power play and penalty kill units. Representing Team USA in the Sochi Olympics earlier in the year also adds to his leadership resume. The New York Rangers didn’t achieve their ultimate goal last season, but they did a lot of things right. Picking McDonagh to be the team’s next captain is another check-mark in the “doing things right” column, and it’s a good way to kick off the upcoming season.

Adam Bernard
I'm a seasoned veteran in the sports media field and a lifelong Rangers fan (hoping to relive 1994 at some point - I couldn't fully appreciate a championship at 11 years old). Hockey dominates my life for the most part: I also root for the Blackhawks & Kings, I've been lucky enough to split season tickets for the Blueshirts with a good friend since the lockout, and I'm a defenseman on a local roller hockey team. Away from the rink, I enjoy hiking, hard rock music, and spending time with my dog Astro.
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