New York Rangers Should Make Ryan Callahan Their Captain

Matthew CalamiaCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2011

NEW YORK - MARCH 6:  Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers in action against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on March 6, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Over the last few seasons, the Rangers have shifted focus from free agency to drafting and the farm system. The trade deadline and July 1 aren't the days that Ranger fans look forward to most anymore, and for good reason.

The youth movement that has taken place on Broadway since the lockout has changed the mantra and reputation of the the Rangers. No longer are they filled with former stars who are shadows of their former selves, going through the motions and receiving a paycheck every two weeks just for showing up.

The post-lockout Rangers, especially this year's version, have built a name for themselves based on hard work, forechecking and a young core that can potentially bring a championship to New York for the first time since 1994.

At the center of that core is Ryan Callahan, a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in 2004, who has emerged as the true leader of this Ranger squad and should be given the title of captain today.

Callahan is the personification of the team he plays for. He's a hardworking, blue-collar forward who will never blow you away with flash and finesse, but will bring you to your feet with his shot-blocking, checking and ugly, garbage goals.

The Rangers' current captain is Chris Drury, out for the year with a knee injury, and who may not even be in the team's plans next season. It is time to turn the page and pull the load on Callahan's shoulders.

It began last season, when coach John Tortorella named Callahan the assistant captain out of training camp, and he has blossomed since. He has nearly surpassed his career high in points, all while missing two months of action with a broken hand.

Callahan is the leader of this team, and the C would just cement it. It's been said since he came up that he is a captain waiting in the wings for Drury to step aside.

That time has come, and management should see it like everyone else does.