November 17, 2020

New York Rangers should not name a captain this season

Zibanejad and Panarin will lead the charge (Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The last captain of the New York Rangers was Ryan McDonagh. He was traded away right after the rebuild letter came out almost three years ago. Since that time the Blueshirts have gone with four guys wearing the A on their sweater with no one donning the C.

New York Rangers fans want Mika Zibanejad to be Captain

Now there is a growing desire to name someone the next Rangers captain. This was accentuated during the Adidas Reverse Retro jersey reveal. A photo on the Rangers Facebook page showed a C and what looked like flowing locks of hair.

New York Rangers captain
Reverse Retro (NYR FB)

The prevailing thought was that it meant Mika Zibanejad would be named captain during the big unveiling of Lady Liberty. That was not the case and the 28th captain in franchise history has yet to be named.

Well folks, I am here to say, “hold on, and wait just a little longer.”

A future captain has yet to play a game for the Rangers

Alexis Lafreniere, who will have the number 13 stitched on his Rangers jersey is likely the future captain of the Rangers. He has been the leader of every team he’s played on and it will not be any different in New York.

Let me be clear, there is no way he’s ready for this responsibility yet. Matter of fact, he may not be ready for it until he’s had two full seasons under his belt. No one should expect him to come in here and lead players like Jacob Trouba, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Artemi Panarin. Those four are likely your new Alternate’s now that Marc Staal and Jesper Fast have departed. Alexis will however learn from them and gain their respect in the process.

Rangers next captain
Lafreniere will wear 13 (NYR/NHLI)

Lafreniere will be in command of the room and the go-to leader for the next wave of Blueshirts. Players like Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, K’Andre Miller, and Vitali Kravtsov to name a few.

A proven leader who does it with words and action

Lafreniere recently did an interview with the NY Post. When asked to give a personal scouting report of himself he said, “I am a competitive power forward who likes to be creative and use my teammates as much as possible on the ice.” The 19 year-old also added something every captain should have in his repertoire, intensity.

“I bring intensity and passion every single shift and I like to use my body as much as my hands to create opportunities on the ice,” Lafreniere concluded. This harkens back to a conversation I had with Steve Kournianos, owner of The Draft Analyst website.

“He jumps off the boards and goes after the puck like he’s on a mission,” Kournianos who watched him in person explained. “He is going to make everyone around him better.”

“Exceptionally smart player with top-end speed and a pull-away fear. He’s great at carrying the puck and leading rushes and executes under pressure, has great vision and anticipation. Lafreniere offers high-end puck skills and vision to create plays, has an impressive compete level every time he’s on the ice and elevates his game in pressure situations while demonstrating leadership skills.”

NHL Central Scouting

In the same interview with the NY Post, he talked about his favorite players including Derek Jeter. Everyone knows Jeter as “The Captain” of the Yankees. The Rangers have even eluded to his character of being a player that isn’t selfish and looks to give credit to everyone else on the team before himself.

When Alexis was asked to describe his childhood Cup winning dream he replied as a captain would. “Lifting it up and celebrating with my teammates.” This is why the Rangers need to wait. This is why the Rangers will likely wait to name a captain.

That’s because there’s “13 reasons” why it should be Alexis Lafreniere, the Rangers just need to give him time.

Check out the latest NHL rumors

Jack Eichel and Mitch Marner have entered the chat. See the other big names on the Trade Bait board. Check it out here.

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