Rangers expected to name captain as front-runner emerges

We are less than three weeks from the Rangers naming their first captain since Ryan McDonagh was sent away in the 2018 deadline purge.

“I think it’s really important, there’s no doubt,” new head coach Gerard Gallant said on Wednesday in his pre-camp press briefing. “I don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, but if I was a betting man I think we’ll have a captain Day 1.”

Day 1 is the Oct. 13 opening night at Washington.

“Captains are important for your team, but 23 guys are more important for me,” said Gallant, who worked without a captain with Vegas for his stint of two-plus seasons while going with six alternates during the Golden Knights’ inaugural year. “Not having one in Vegas with an expansion team made a lot of guys buy in and [created] a lot of good leaders.

“Whoever gets the ‘C’ on a hockey team isn’t going to be alone. We need everybody to be a leader. On my type of team, it’s 23 guys being ready whether you’re 18 years old or 40 years old. Everybody has got to be a part of it. That’s when you take your steps, when you have 23 players buying in and the voice in the room is from 23 players, not from two.”

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Still, after three-plus seasons going with an amalgamation of alternates, the belief is the Rangers will benefit from having a captain as their point-person. Jacob Trouba is believed the leader in the clubhouse.

“Some of the players I think talked about it last year, saying they’d like a captain,” Gallant said, perhaps referring to comments in exit meetings. “To me it’s not a big, big deal but I know it’s important in a market like this and the discussions we’ve had, we think are going to lead to a captain.”



Assistant coach Mike Kelly will direct the power play, while Gord Murphy will direct the penalty kill, but the staff, including Gallant and assistant Jim Midgley, will work collaboratively on all aspects.

“It’s not one thing where one guy goes over there and does all the work,” Gallant said. “We’re there every day, there’s four of us in one big office and we discuss everything as a group. If the PP or PK doesn’t go well, we’re not going to blame that one guy. It’s going to be all about the group.”