With Chris Drury's departure, the Rangers will have a new captain for the 2011-12 season. With no clear-cut successor, there has been much debate (amongst Rangers fans, not necessarily within the organization) about who will become the team's 26th captain. That being said, here are a couple of the Rangers who will possibly get the "C."
Although not one of the top choices to become the next captain, Dubinsky has grown into one of the core parts of the Rangers going forward. Dubinsky led the team in goals, assists and points last season, while playing in every situation. Even if he isn't the captain, Dubinsky could very easily be part of the leadership group with an "A" this season.
Staal has become more and more vital towards the team's success in each of his first four seasons with the Rangers. Although he has a quiet demeanor, Staal leads by example on the ice. The Rangers' coaching staff acknowledged Staal's ability to lead by giving him the "A" last season, and Staal responded by being selected to his first All-Star game.
It isn't very often that players who are new to a team instantly become a part of the leadership group. However, Brad Richards is an exception. Richards has won a Stanley Cup (one of only three Rangers on the current roster), and has worn an "A" for four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars. The fact that he has played and won under John Tortorella before also makes the case stronger for him to be the next captain.
Who will be the Captain of the 2011-12 New York Rangers
Callahan has been the heart and soul of the Rangers since John Tortorella became head coach. His work ethic, willingness to block shots and ability to add scoring have made him a leader by example. Last season, Tortorella publicly called Callahan the "model" Ranger, as well as a huge part of the "engine" of the team. A fan favorite, Callahan has worn the "A" for the past two seasons.
Although each of the guys mentioned have "captain-like" qualities, there are still parts missing that makes one player head and shoulders above the rest. It would be ideal (not necessary) for the captain to be of All-Star caliber, which would favor Staal and Richards. However, despite Richards' leadership ability, his lack of tenure with the team could make it difficult to come into a new locker room and be a first-time captain.
Callahan's respect amongst the players and the coaching staff is immeasurable. For a team that has built it's identity on hard work and blocking shots, Callahan is, as Tortorella said, the model player.
Come opening night for the 2011-12 season, Ryan Callahan will be the captain of the New York Rangers.