Regarding the team now identified as Rest of the Rangers, or in the Olympic spirit, ROR: 1. Left unsaid in the decision to trade Ryan McDonagh to Tampa Bay on Monday is management’s belief the Blueshirts were/are in need of a more inspirational and perhaps even confrontational personality as team captain. No one would dare dispute McDonagh’s character, commitment, toughness or work ethic. The man played the final three games of the 2015 conference finals on a broken ankle, for goodness sakes. He was a lead-by-example guy since getting the “C” at the start of 2104-15. But with Alain Vigneault, a coach who believes in leaving the locker room to his player leadership core, there was a sense that the club needed a captain who would get in his teammates’ faces when necessary and that McDonagh was not that kind of leader. Had such a player emerged, the Rangers might have considered changing captains, as the Sharks did in going from Joe Thornton to Joe Pavelski; as the Kings did in moving from Dustin Brown to Anze Kopitar; as the Devils once did in going from Patrik Elias (after one year) to Jamie Langenbrunner and, before that, from Bruce Driver (after one season) to Scott Stevens; as the Islanders did in moving from Clark Gillies (after one year) to Denis Potvin in the offseason preceding their first Stanley Cup; and as the Blueshirts themselves did way back when, in going from Harry Howell to Red Sullivan. But no such alternative presented itself. The next captain more likely than not will come from the outside in the person of a veteran with characteristics similar to, say, Martin St. Louis, who might have inherited the position vacated by Ryan Callahan’s trade if No. 26 had more than one year remaining on his contract when McDonagh was named instead.
Behind the Rangers’ big trade and the major decisions up next
New York Post | Feb 28