The debate for who should be the next captain of the New York Rangers started when the Blueshirts signed free agent center Brad Richards away from various other National Hockey League teams but before that everyone knew and hoped it was going to be Ryan Callahan.
It had to be right?
Now, times are different. The Rangers reunited Richards with his former head coach in John Tortorella this offseason and ever since then it looks as if the captaincy has slipped away from Callahan. There are cases for both on why each could have a very good chance at being named the next Blueshirts captain but in my mind only one deserves it and that’s Ryan Callahan.
First let’s look at why many people are choosing Richards over Callahan as of late. The two things working for Richards of course is John Tortorella. Tortorella coached Richards in Tampa Bay with the Lightning where both won a Stanley Cup together. Torts knows what Richards can do on and off the ice and he may be pushing for Richards to be the next captain. The other point everyone is ranting about is the length of contract Richards signed (9 years) and the length of contract Callahan signed (3 years). It’s a very big possibility that Richards will not be a New York Ranger for the entire tenure of his 9 year deal, but it still puts him at more years in the Rangers system at this moment over Callahan. Are the Rangers thinking of giving the ‘C’ to Richards because Callahan is only signed for 3 years and is prone to injury and very well may not be back after his contract? A very good possibility, but at the moment highly unlikely.
Now onto Ryan Callahan. Callahan deserves to be the captain of this New York Rangers team and the Rangers organization owes it to the fans to name Callahan its next captain.
Callahan shows what it means to be a New York Ranger and that what he has been since the 2006-07 season when he was first called up from the Hartford Wolfpack. Ever since then, the Rangers fans and Callahan connected on and off the ice. He plays with the presence of a 6’4″, 240lb winger yet he’s only 5’11″. Every game he puts his body on the line for this organization and bleeds Rangers blue.
I can understand why some fans and people within the organization might push for their huge free agent acquisition to be the next captain but it would be a mistake to do so.
Would Brad Richards make a good captain, yes I believe he would. But the spotlight and the show belongs to the young Ryan Callahan, deservedly so. Making Richards the alternate alongside Brandon Dubinsky or even switching up with home and away alternates would be a very good idea that I think the fans would come to love. A tandem of Staal/Dubinsky at home and Richards/Girardi on the road is something that would be quite interesting and will be able to show off the leadership this team has all around.
This team now belongs to Ryan Callahan. Even if the Rangers name Richards the captain, the fans will always look at Callahan first when it comes to pure leadership and heart.
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