New York Rangers considering leadership change among alternate captains

The New York Rangers have a new captain in Jacob Trouba after running six alternate captains last season. With Ryan Strome leaving for the Anaheim Ducks via free agency, they’re now down to just four alternates.

Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Barclay Goodrow are all still here with an A sewn on their sweater. That may very well remain the case heading into the season, but head coach Gerard Gallant is considering some changes.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do,” Gallant said last week. “We’ll discuss it some more and there’s different combinations we might do. We’ll decide in the near future and we’ll make an announcement before the season starts.”

Naturally, that raised the question if they would reduce it to just two alternates and if that’s causing some friction.

“I don’t think it’s caused any friction,” Gallant responded. “I was fortunate to be an assistant captain in Detroit and you take a lot pride in that. We’ve got some real good leaders and it’s going to be some tough choices. We’ll make [decisions] in the next week or so.”

New York Rangers alternate captains

new york rangers mika zibanejad
Sep 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) warms up before a game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Trouba, 28, registered 39 points in 81 games last season for the Rangers and added 5 points in 20 playoff contests. His 177 shot blocks were tops on the team and his 207 hits led all Blueshirts defensemen.

He was apparently the consensus choice dating back to last October but the Rangers opted to wait one more season. When he was named captain, Trouba made it clear that there would be no changes with how the leadership group would work now that he has the C.

Well, that may not be his call if Rangers management makes some changes.

Option 1: Leave it alone

The easiest thing to do is leave things as they are with a combination of Kreider, Zibanejad, Panarin, and Goodrow serving as either home or away alternates. It keeps the leadership group dynamic in place and allows some younger players to slowly take on more responsibility.

Option 2: Name 2 more assistants

There’s been some rumblings that the Rangers would like to see Adam Fox elevated to the role of alternate captain. During one preseason game both he and partner Ryan Lindgren were wearing the A on their jerseys. The issue with this scenario is how do you create a rotation where two will serve on which night? Or do you simplify it and have a Captain and three Assistants split by home and away games? It just seems like overkill to have a captain and six alternates.

Option 3: Strip either Panarin and/or Goodrow of the A

If the Rangers are strongly considering a change, one move could really upset the apple cart.

I highly doubt that the team would remove the A off the sweaters of two of the longest serving team members in Kreider (11 years) and Zibanejad (7 years). That leaves removing the A off the jersey of either Panarin and/or Goodrow.

This really seems like a terrible idea, especially if you are going to replace one of them with Adam Fox. It just puts everyone in a bad spot unnecessarily.

Plus, if you take it from Panarin that will only rekindle the speculation that Chris Drury was unhappy with his performance in the playoffs.

Bottom line, the Rangers have only two realistic choices from what I presented and that’s either option 1 or 2. If it were my call, I’d leave things alone.

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