Mats Zuccarello Should Be The Next Rangers Captain
Jeff Gorton certainly delivered on the promise he made to the fans back on February 8, as he traded Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning just minutes before the trade deadline Monday afternoon. Aside from the other deals the Rangers have made this week, McDonagh’s removal from the lineup leaves a new issue for the Rangers to deal with; who will be the next captain of the New York Rangers?
I am making the case for fan-favorite Mats Zuccarello to be named the 29th captain in the team’s history. Zuccarello has been loved by Rangers fans since he put on the Blueshirts sweater back in 2010. Zuccarello, who really started to take off as an important role player for the Rangers in 2013, is someone that Rangers fans seemingly cannot live without. With posting more than 40 points in each of his last five seasons as a Ranger, there is no doubt that he serves as an important leader on the ice at all times.
Aside from his offensive production, one of the most important awards you can win as a member of the Rangers is the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. This award has been given out to one member of the team since the 1987-1998 season, for a player who goes above and beyond on and off the ice, which is exactly what a captain should do. Mats Zuccarello has won this award three of the last five years, including last season. This shows the character and passion that Mats brings to this team on the ice, and off the ice, building character and relationships within the locker room and outside of hockey completely.
If you ask any fan of the Rangers, the one person that gives it his all each night is #36. Watching him play each and every night, with his ability to stand up for his teammates game in and game out is beyond satisfying. Watching Mats go out there and give a consistent effort, even if the team is having a down year, shows the love he has for being a Ranger. Above all, the fan appreciation of Zuccarello is the final reason he should be the next captain. There is nothing like hearing the Garden rain down with “Zuuuuc” after he makes a big play on the ice. Zuccarello is the entire package, a leader on and off the ice, a fan-favorite, and is capable of leading this hockey team.