The New York Rangers will not have a captain to start the 2018-19 season, as the club announced five players will serve as an alternate captain.
Prior to this, Marc Staal and Mats Zuccarello were the alternate captains with a number of players wearing a third “A” on the road after the departure of Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash.
The team did not announce the plan, but my guess is that Staal will always have an “A” and Zuccarello, Kreider, Fast and Zibanejad will split their time between home and road games. The rule book allows for designation of one captain and two alternate captains during a game, or three alternate captains.
As my pal Ed points out, it could also be done based on jersey set rotation, as the team wears a number of sets during the season.
Could rotate by jersey set like years past as well.— Ed McMahon (@Edmc28) October 3, 2018
#Rangers coach David Quinn said Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello will be alternate captains for home games and Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast will wear the "A'' for road games this season. D Marc Staal will be an alternate captain for all 82 games.— Colin Stephenson (@ColinASteph) October 3, 2018
Two weeks ago I outlined a few directions the Rangers could go toward filling the vacancies, and Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast were two players on my primary list. Mika Zibanejad was one of the players on my secondary list.
Overall, this isn’t unexpected, and it is further proof that this team is still very much in development stages.
This also isn’t the first time the team has had a number of captains.
We have no idea how much longer players like Zuccarello, Kreider and Staal will remain with the team, and there’s always the chance the team could explore the market for Zibanejad before his no movement clause goes into effect for the 2019-20 season.
This decision leaves the door wide open, and I am fairly certain the leadership picture will look starkly different come October 3, 2019.