This is actually a re-run of a story we did on hear back in May. Everyone is preaching recycling these days, and this one bears revisiting. When I originally put this together, Markus Naslund had just retired, leaving one "A" up for grabs. Now with Scott Gomez traded, both Alternate slots are vacant. So let's take another look at Rangers who are deserving of the letter, and I've updated it to include the Rangers latest addition.
You could make a case for Staal to grab one of the A's, he is young, and on his way to becoming the Rangers top defenseman, if he isn't already. The Rangers Captains and Alternates were all forwards in 2008-09, Staal would be a good choice if they wanted to give it to a defensemen. His youth would really be the only question here. Rangers don't typically hand the letters to 22 year olds.
As a player Callahan made great strides this year, and I feel his best is yet to come. I've already got Callie penciled in as the future Captain of the Rangers, now would be a good a time as any to hand him the A. He is the future of the franchise. I think he just needs to become a little more comfortable at being a leader on the ice. He's not far off.
Dubi is everything you want in a Captain or Alternate. He's the first one to join the scrum to defend a teammate or his goaltender, and he brings it on every shift. His game is steadily improving as well; both he and Callahan seemed to thrive in John Tortorella's system. I think Callie and Dubi go together as "C" and "A" like Messier and Graves.
Well, why not? If you want to make a bold statement, here it is. Arguably the most hated player in the NHL as your alternate captain. The upside would be that Avery leads by example. The downside would be that Avery leads by example. The fun part would be that I think we all know that love him or hate him, the "A" would have double meaning for Avery.
Blair Betts: (If he returns)
I think we all agree we love Blair Betts and what he does for the Rangers, but unfortunately you can't give the "A" to a guy that plays 8 minutes a game, less if the Rangers are staying out of the box.
The Rangers latest addition wore the Captain's "C" with the Wild, it seems only natural that the Rangers new superstar assume a leadership role on Broadway if he wants it. If not for the coaching change last season, I'd say Gaborik probably wouldn't be a candidate, since the old regime was so loyal to its veterans. This is probably a good way for Torts to put his stamp on this team.
In case you were wondering and didn't know: goalies cannot be captains or alternates in the NHL, it's against the rules. I did a little research as to why, and came up with a hundred different reasons and theories. The Canucks did name goaltender Roberto Luongo as Captain, but he cannot wear the "C" on his jersey, and one of the 'Nucks alternates handles the discussions with the referees.
NHL Rule 6.1:
No playing Coach or playing Manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as Captain or Alternate Captain.
Now obviously the above is subject to change based on free agents who may come and go, and trades that may happen. But based on the Rangers current roster, who would you give the "A" to?
We'll also be discussing this topic tomorrow night on Blueshirt Banter Radio, the show starts at 7:30, make sure you tune in!