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: Mar 19, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:02 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Me and my friends were discussing duby as a captain and came to the feeling that you need that one guy who just goes nuts from time to time (duby) and the captain who keeps order, has a good work ethic, and talent to back it up. I think that should be Cally now, because he has earned the respect of the rest of the team and does everything from fore checking to blocking shots to scoring

Since: Aug 10, 2011
Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:39 pm

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Wow, you guys dont know your @$$ from your elbow. Marc Staal would be a terrible captain. I wouldn't give it to BRAD Richards, because he just signed a huge contract and the Rangers do not need to put more pressure on this guy. I think they should gve it to Duby or Callahan. Either choice would be fine.

Since: Nov 20, 2008
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:14 am

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

30 point, soft defensemen are not captain's, regardless of their family name. Considering the body of work, expirience, success Richards already is the captain of this team. Can hear it now at first practice as captain Staal goes over to tell Richards he is doing a play wrong or isn't working hard enough and Richards replies "and you are'?

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: August 10, 2011 8:26 am

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Thats pretty embarrasing if he does get the C as hes just hired hand. 

Oh almost forgot....Gabby is still an overpaid bum and will never win anything. 

Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: August 10, 2011 8:14 am

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

Misterfamous and Irishjohnny please do not comment on the Rangers anymore (or even hockey) when you don't know the difference between Mike and Brad Richards.  Thanks.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:22 am

Could Richards be the next Rangers captain?

I'd have to agree- Staal is very vocal and allegedly a real leader in the lockerroom.  I love Callahan's play and determination, so he's easy as an alternate- I don't know if he's a big "team" guy.  I do disagree on Dubinsky- the guy's been a douchebag that other teams and his own team have never respected, probably because of his tendency to take stupid penalties (including diving).

Marc Staal gets promoted to captain.  Mike Richards and Ryan Callahan are the alternates.

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 9:31 pm

There canonly be one next Rangers captain?

And that HAS to be Mark Staal! He's the teams most indespensable player! Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky are the alternates. While Mike Richards is a Tortarella favorite, he's new in the locker room and would need to earn the respect that Staal already has.

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