Blog Entry

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Posted on: August 9, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 9:34 pm
RichardsBy: Adam Gretz

It wasn't a surprise that one the biggest names on the free agent market this summer -- Brad Richards -- landed with the New York Rangers. By now we should pretty much expect it to play out that way. It's not the first time it's happened, and it certainly won't be the last. Some of their recent dips into the deep end of free agency pool, including Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Wade Redden and Marian Gaborik, has produced some mixed results (to put it kindly), and not the type of return a team generally likes to see on its largest investment (and I think Richards will prove to be, by far, the best of these signings).

Richards, one of the NHL's best playmaking pivots, signed a nine-year, $60 million deal in early July, and brings with him a $6.6 million cap hit through the end of the 2019-20 season. He's a No. 1 center that's managed to produce like one over his career with Tampa Bay and Dallas. He also has a positive history with current Rangers coach John Tortorella, who he played under for most of his tenure with the Lighting, including the Stanley Cup season of 2003-04 where Richards took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

That history, along with Richards' track record, has sparked some discussion in Ranger-land that the 31-year-old Richards could take over as the teams next captain before the puck drops on the upcoming season. Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record (via Crash The Crease) wrote on Tuesday that the Rangers have three potential options to wear the "C" this season: returning players Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal, and the incoming Richards.

Writes Gross:
Tortorella was asked June 30 – two days before the team signed Richards – about his selection process for the new captain. "I think those decisions will come about come camp," Tortorella said. "We’ll have our talks, we’ll see. Maybe our team changes even more this summer, along the way." That last sentence could be interpreted as a vote in Richards’ favor. Or perhaps not, as Tortorella has no inclination to discuss exactly what his selection process entailed. Callahan said when he agreed to his new contract that, regardless of who wore the captain’s "C," there was strong leadership in the room. And he may be the fan’s choice. But Richards could be the coach’s choice.
The Rangers are in need of a new captain because their most recent captain, Drury, was bought out earlier this summer after a 2010-11 season that saw him score one goal in a 24-game, injury-shortened season.

Tortorella took over behind Tampa Bay's bench midway through Richards' rookie season in 2000-01, and coached him up until the trade that sent him to Dallas in the middle of the 2007-08 season. There's a great deal of familiarity here (on and off the ice) and plenty of success, both on an individual and a team level, between the two men to make the potential captaincy a logical fit.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:21 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

I think the contract negotiations and only a 3 year deal might stop them from giving him the captaincy, but it seems like the logical thing to do. But hold off on annointing them contenders for the cup, as they have struggled to make the playoffs the past few seasons and they added 1 major addition only.Now that guy must stay healthy, mesh with gaborik, have him stay healthy, and must find reliable defensemen to eat up minutes so staal and girardi arent worn out at seasons end. If you follow hockey enough youll see 2nd year defensemen struggle in year 2, "sorhomore jinx" and they make up the 2nd pair with eminger and an unknown as a 3rd pair. I see reason for hope as the players are maturing, but they need many things to go right for this team to be mentioned as a contender. I hope it works out, but i see the need for a defenseman with experience, if not 2 of them, for this team to contend. Everyone has an opinion, so we shall wait and hope, seems like we've been doing that for a while.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2011 4:22 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

The Rangers have actually made the playoffs eight times since '94. They got there in '95-'97, '06-'09, and '11. Also, at least the Rangers don't tease their fans with President's Trophies before flaming out in the playoffs, they grind their way into the party and the expectations haven't been that high in a while. They will be this season, though.

Oh, I should probably say something on topic. They're crazy if anyone other than Callahan winds up with the C this year.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: August 11, 2011 3:51 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Boyle?????..while he had a very good season. his 1st season  which was good, he isn't even in the conversation.  Tortorella prefers Callahans work ethic as opposed to Dubinsky.  Dubinsky wont even be wearing an "A".  They put their future into Richards hands, so it wouldnt be shocking but Callahan seems the logical choice.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: August 11, 2011 1:48 am

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

The more I think about it, the more I think Brian Boyle would be a good Captain; it might just take him to the next level.  He plays a regular shift, kills penalties, takes key face-offs, is a second powerplay center, doesn't take crap from anybody on the opposition.  What is he..., 6'7" and 265, doesn't take bad penalties, isn't a hothead..., maybe he'll even stand up to Torts whereas Richards never would.  Give Callahan and maybe Staal (not so sure) the A's.  Let Gabby, Richards, Dubinsky focus on their own output.

Since: Feb 5, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:51 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

@Indy2212 Don't be a moron Bernie Nicholls and 2 others turned into The Captain so we would never have won the Cup without having Bernie Nicholls so Slap Yourself and shut up

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: August 10, 2011 9:02 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?


Thirty-seven years in the league with no cups. What do you call that?
The Vancouver Canucks ?  Oh, that's 40 years.  Get over yourself- the Rangers have had a tough time the last Cup; how many times did they make the playoffs since '94 - 2... 3 ?

Since: Aug 10, 2011
Posted on: August 10, 2011 8:41 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Who is this guy Gretz're two letters shy to know anything about hockey...KY....How could you possibly think that Brad Richards will be the next Captain of the Rangers...what about Stahl or Callahan or Dubinsky....this guy has not done squat for the Rangers...yes I am glad to have him and I hope he does not turn out to be another Bernie Nicholls and actually does do well for us...but Captain c'mon our origanization has more class than that.Foot in mouth

Since: Feb 12, 2009
Posted on: August 10, 2011 7:29 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Am I seeing things? A Caps fans calling Ranger fans long suffering? Do you actually think before you post? Thirty-seven years in the league with no cups. What do you call that?

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: August 10, 2011 7:20 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

My mistake- Brad Richards, the next latest over-hyped Rangers free agent acquisition.  BFD- wasn't Chris Drury also captain from Day 1 ?

Getting Tortorella as coach was a good first step.  Overpaying for free agents is a flawed strategy though, and won't be corrected until Glen Sather is pushed out the door.  Until then, this team won't be winning any championships- sorry Ranger fans, I know you're long-suffering.

Since: Dec 31, 2009
Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Ryan Callahan should be the next Captain of the new York Rangers. Ryan is the heart and soul of the club. He is not only a leader, but a hard worker. His play gets better every year. Richards will bring solid performance to the team but the solid foundation (including leadership) has been in place for a few years now.

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