By Ranger Dave
With last year's Captain Chris Drury being bought out earlier this summer, the New York Rangers will have to anoint a new leader.
The short list for Captain includes Ranger lifers Ryan Callahan (the Leader by Example), Brandon Dubinsky (the Dark Horse) and Marc Staal (the Quiet Giant). The newest addition, Brad Richards (the Outsider), will no doubt be considered by the coaching staff as well and rightly so. There can only be one Captain, but there are two A's to hand out as well and the competition for them will be even stiffer than for the C. Other players who should probably be considered as Alternate Captains are Dan Girardi (the Sacrificer) Brandon Prust (the Wounded Warrior) and Brian Boyle (the Skating Giant). I have seen this debate on other blogs but I will focus on the stats and key moments from last season, not just conjecture...
So lets break it down.
Ryan Callahan has been a hard worker on almost every single shift I have seen him play since he came up to the Rangers in the 06'-07' season. The Rochester, NY native had 48 points (23 G, 25 A) in 60 games last season including five game winning goals (team leader), ten powerplay goals (team leader) and 46 PIM. He registered a -7 playing against the NHL's top lines. Ryan recorded 224 hits (second on the team, 15th in the league) and 77 blocked shots including the biggest one of the season against the Bruin's Zdeno Chara, which ultimately broke Callahan's right leg. These stats tell the story of Ryan Callahan, the two way forward who can score, play defense, and come through in the clutch.
Brandon Dubinsky stepped up this year as a leader when Drury and Prospal were out this year with injury, and along with Ryan, really carried this team offensively. Brandon had 54 points (24 G, 30 A) and registered a -3 against top offensive players. He stepped up even more when Callahan was injured and led the Rangers in points. His point totals don't tell the whole story though. I mean, who can forget this
? The guy is tough, talented and dedicated.
Marc Staal averaged 29.5 shifts per game which led the team and was 9th in the NHL. He averaged 25:44 in Time on Ice which led the team and was FOURTH in the NHL. He had 29 pts (7 G, 22 A). Four of his goals came on the powerplay, two were shorthanded and two were game winning. He registered a +8 playing against the Leagues top lines. He blocked 109 shots.
Dan Girardi led the NHL in blocked shots with 236. The next closest player was Greg Zanon of Minnesota with 212 and third was Mark Giordano of Calgary with 193. This statistic says a lot about Girardi as a player. He consistently amd willingly sacrifices his body more than anyone else in the NHL. He averaged 2.95 shots blocked per game. Henrik loves this guy. If all those shots were on goal (using Hanks and Marty's save percentage) it would have resulted in 18 more goals against last year. That is pure speculation but you get the idea. Dan also had 31 pts (4 g, 27 a) and registered a +7 against the NHL's best offensive players. He recorded 195 hits proving he can dish it out as well as take a puck to the body.
Brian Boyle led the team in hits with 240 (11th in the NHL). Brian's effort skating with Underhill last season really paid off, as he made the team out of camp and had a breakout season registering 35 pts (21 G, 14 A). He is working again with Underhill this off season, which shows that he is not satisfied yet, and only wants to get better. Brian had a +2 this season and blocked 86 shots many of them on the penalty kill.
Brandon Prust led the team with 18 fighting majors last season and was tied for FOURTH in the NHL in that category. He led the team with five shorthanded goals and was THIRD in the NHL. He was injured for a good part of the season but played through it, playing all 82 games for the Rangers. He had 29 pts (13G 16A) and a +2 rating. This dude has some serious "cojones" and I am glad he's is on our team.
I am not going to break down Richards stats, because we have all seen the stats and the highlight reels etc. I personally feel Brad will be a leader on this team regardless of whether he wears a letter or not.
There is a definite pattern to all the guys that are mentioned here. I believe that all of them deserve to wear an A for the Rangers at some point. I have not even made up my mind yet who I would pick, because it's such a tough decision. But if it had to be today I would say Callahan wears the C. Staal and Dubinsky get A's and Girardi is a close fourth.
I'd love to hear your thoughts guys and gals....Just a reminder that I will be accepting guest blog entries until July 31st. Please e-mail them to
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