The New York Rangers will have a captain next season for the first time since Ryan McDonagh was traded in 2018. Jacob Trouba was named the 28th captain in Rangers history, and will wear the “C” next season. General manager Chris Drury explained why he made this choice:
We all think Jacob is the perfect choice for captain for many reasons. Certainly since the moment he got here, he has continued to grow as a leader within the organization. Things he does on the ice, off the ice, behind the scenes, you name it. He’s the perfect role model for our young guys, for our older guys, for our veterans. He just chooses to do everything right day in and day out. We’re thrilled he’s going to be our captain.
Trouba, 28, is entering his fourth season with the Rangers, after landing in New York via trade in the summer of 2019. He had made it clear to the Winnipeg Jets that he was unlikely to re-sign with them long-term, so after six seasons with the Canadian club, he was sent to the Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and a first-round pick (which ended up being Ville Heinola).
While some may argue that the seven-year, $56MM contract that he quickly signed pays him a bit more than his on-ice play warrants, there’s a reason why the Rangers have made him captain today. The big, physical defenseman has been a horse for the club averaging more than 22 minutes a night since arriving, and taking on some of the difficult defensive matchups in order to free up more offensive players like Adam Fox.
Remember that shift to responsible, physical play wasn’t always Trouba’s calling card. He was a puck-mover for the Jets and even reached 50 points in 2018-19 on the back of top powerplay production. While he does get a bit of time with the man advantage in New York, it’s his even-strength contributions that are some important, where he averages more time than any other Rangers player. He has also produced elite penalty-killing results, and developed into one of the most feared open-ice hitters in the league.
With just four years left on his deal and this season to be played mostly at the age of 28, it is unlikely that the Rangers will have to pay for much of a decline, at least on this contract. His captaincy essentially ends any lingering trade speculation, though even that was always a bit far-fetched, given his no-movement clause and stated desire to stay.
Today, he joins an exclusive group, that includes Drury himself, who served as Rangers captain between 2008-2011. There aren’t many people better suited to understand the role and make a selection.