Future Captain Ryan McDonagh, Why Not Now?

Is Ryan McDonagh ready to be Captain? (AP)

Is Ryan McDonagh ready to be Captain? (AP)

Ryan McDonagh has emerged as the most likely candidate to become the 27th captain in franchise history. The question is, if his teammates feel that way, why isn’t he the captain now? An intriguing question no doubt and one that deserves answering.

Rick Nash was recently interviewed by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch as he makes his return to Columbus for the first time since being traded. Here is what he said:

Q. The Rangers don’t have a captain. Could you be line for another shot at that?

A. (laughs) Oh, no. They have a great defenseman here, Ryan McDonagh. He’s on a long-term deal. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, one of the hardest guys to play against. I think he’s the leading candidate.

Q. Is that a job you’d even want? Really?

A. That’s a great question. Haven’t even thought about it. It’s a tough job. It’s not for everybody. I want to win. That’s all I want. If it’s me being the captain, then sure. But we have great candidates here with Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards … but I think Ryan is the true candidate and it’d be a great move for the organization.

Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers best defenseman and signed to a longterm deal, so what’s the hold up? Is it really because Ryan Callahan was so important and the players so distraught that the Rangers felt obligated not to put salt on the wound so quickly? The answer is no. Even Mark Messier’s departure from Edmonton and NY led to captains being named at the start of the season. In Tampa Bay, they wasted no time giving it to Steven Stamkos, so what’s the issue here? It’s simple, age.

Mac Truck is still growing as a player and a leader at the tender age of 24. We have yet to see him reach his potential, so why put the added pressure of Captain on his shoulders. Does anyone remember the playoffs last year against the Capitals? It was game 2 and the Rangers lost in OT with McDonagh on the ice for an incredible 3 minutes and 4 seconds. He took that loss so hard that he was crying in the locker room. Not exactly a Captain quality, but it shows how much he cares. There is no doubt that it helped him grow as a player and will shape him as a leader as well.

Bottom line is that Ryan McDonagh is the future captain of the Blueshirts and it may very well be next year. However, if you read Rick Nash’s quotes, they come off very diplomatic and he doesn’t dismiss the possibility of being the next captain of the Rangers. As for Richards and St. Louis, both are older and have a shorter shelf line than McDonagh or Nash. Besides, neither of them needs a “C” stitched to their sweater to lead. When it is all said and done, I believe Rick Nash will get the captaincy.

Rick Nash is 29 years old and has 4 years left on his contract with the Rangers. In 4 years Ryan McDonagh will be 28 and in his prime. He will have learned from Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Marty St. Louis on how to lead. There is no need to rush him when the Rangers have a big man in Nash that knows the burdens of high expectations since the day he laced up skates. Let Nash carry the torch for a few years and allow Big Mac the chance to flourish and prepare to be the 28th captain of the Rangers.

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Great read by ESPN on Ryan McDonagh.