On February 26, 2018, the New York Rangers pulled off one of their biggest trades in recent memory by arranging a big trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The leaders of the Blueshirts, defender Ryan McDonagh and forward JT Miller, went to the Lightning camp, while forward Vladislav Namestnikov, defender Libor Gajek and forward Brett Howden proceeded in the opposite direction. In addition, the Lightning gave the Rangers a 2018 first-round pick and a conditional 2019 first-round pick.

As further practice showed, that exchange did not bring any tangible benefits to the Rangers. Two of the three players received (Namestnikov and Howden) have long since left Broadway, Gayek is stuck in a nearby reserve, and the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2018 was spent on Swedish talent Nils Lundqvist, who has yet to establish himself as a ready NHL player. . And it’s not a fact that in the foreseeable future he will be able to do this in the Rangers camp, since the defense of Gerard Gallan’s team is fully staffed.

The Rangers story is over.  But Panarin and Shesterkin's club has an incredible future
The Rangers story is over. But Panarin and Shesterkin’s club has an incredible future

But that exchange was primarily needed by the Rangers to get rid of the contracts of Miller and McDonagh. Both players were the real leaders of the Rangers, but, as you remember, four years ago, the American team embarked on a complete restructuring, in which a whole series of veteran exchanges was carried out. In particular, the club was left by its captain – the defender of Macdon.

Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh

Photo: www.nhl.com

“My wife and I loved every second of our lives in New York. Our daughter Falan was born here in 2016, so the city will remain a huge part of our family history. Unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye. I know this exchange opens up great opportunities for me, but I’m still very sad to leave you.

I will never forget what it feels like to stand in the locker room of Madison Square Garden before a warm-up and take your blue sweater off the hanger… It was an honor for me to wear it. I played in the most famous arena in the world. In front of the best fans in the world. In the best city in the world. And all these words are true, ”wrote the Rangers symbol in his farewell letter.

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The scorer in overtime in Game 5 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semi-finals with the Washington Capitals (2-1) left New York with a very heavy heart, but four years later, Ryan is unlikely to regret that decision by the Rangers management. During the time spent in Tampa, McDonagh won two Stanley Cups and once again reached the decisive stage of the tournament. With the Lightning, he developed into one of the best defensemen in the league, building an incredibly successful career.

This off-season, the American hockey player fell victim to a salary cap – the Lightning management traded Ryan to Nashville, which does not look like a contender for winning the Stanley Cups in the coming years, but, given all his previous victories, McDona can already quite calmly finish his career in the NHL . She turned out to be amazing as well.

“It came as a blow.” “Tampa” got rid of the American for the sake of the Russian leader

As for the Rangers, since February 2018 the team has played in the league without a captain. Rather, in the first few seasons after Ryan’s departure, the Blueshirts still had an informal captain. He was the legendary Swedish goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist. There is no doubt that if the rules of hockey allowed a goaltender to be the captain, it would be King Henrik who would wear the sweater with the “C” patch. But since the set of rules does not provide such an opportunity for goalkeepers, the Rangers did not have an official captain.

Every year, American journalists asked the team’s leadership when a new captain would be appointed. But in the camp of the “blue shirts” they dragged this decision. And finally this choice was made. On the eve of the Rangers announced that the 28th captain in the club’s history was 28-year-old defender Jacob Truba. In the last season, Jacob was the alternate captain of the team along with three forwards – Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Artemy Panarin. It seemed that it was between them that the choice of the captain would be made, but the Rangers considered otherwise.

“Jacob, Jacob! Congratulations, buddy. I’m happy for you. But I still think that I am the best choice, ”the Russian striker of the Rangers reacted with a laugh to the appointment of Truba.

There is exceptionally good humor in these words of Panarin, because the 30-year-old striker himself has repeatedly explained in great detail why he is a bad candidate for the captain’s position.

“Is it true that they want to make the captain of the Rangers? I don’t know which way the wind is blowing. We don’t have anything like that. I do not know. Surely someone is thinking about it. We don’t have a captain at Rangers and we need one. But in the locker room there is no talk about it.

How is the captain chosen? Honestly I do not know. But not by voting. And last year we didn’t have a captain. Only four assistants. I think the decision is made at the level of the coach and general manager.

There are much better candidates for this position. I would like to? Probably not, to be honest. It’s not just sticking a letter. And walk, take pictures with this T-shirt. That’s a lot of hard work in the locker room.

It’s not just good to play hockey. And between periods, spend extra energy on inspiring, motivating: “Let’s work on this guys!”. Give a bunch of interviews, be the face of the club. Lots of work outside of the hockey rink.

And I like to play hockey normally. And even then, with varying degrees of success. I’m just afraid that I won’t be an effective captain. I don’t even have English. Who am I motivating? I can only influence the game. But they will listen to me without any letters, ”Panarin said live on the Hockey in the know channel on social networks.

Panarin is already unhappy with the Rangers.  They want to cheer him up in a risky way
Panarin is already unhappy with the Rangers. They want to cheer him up in a risky way

The words of Panarin, who still gives press conferences in the NHL in Russian, are absolutely fair. Therefore, it is unlikely that anyone in the leadership of the Rangers seriously considered the Russian for the role of captain. However, why was the final choice made in favor of the Pipe, and not the same Kreider or Zibanejad?

The entire NHL career of the 31-year-old Kreider is associated exclusively with the Rangers. Along with Zibanejad, he became one of the few leaders of the Blueshirts of the pre-perestroika era who survived the revolution in the club and retained his place in the team. Chris has been playing for the American club since 2011, and his contract runs until the end of the 2026/2027 season. If there is no force majeure, then, most likely, Kreider will end his career with the Rangers.

Chris Crider

Chris Crider

Photo: nhl.com/rangers

It was expected that it was Crides who would become the new captain, but the choice turned out to be sensational. Rochester native Truba joined the Rangers in 2019 and was one of the team’s most criticized players in his first two seasons. The hockey player receiving $ 8 million a season instantly lost the competition for the place of the attacking guard in the first brigade of the majority, first to Tony DeAngelo, and then to Adam Fox, and at his gate Truba did not work close to the money given to him.

Jacob’s performance took a radical turn for the better when Gerard Gallant took over from David Quinn as head coach last summer. Gallan, who prefers good old-school hockey, untied Truba’s hands in terms of a power game, and Jacob, with his most brutal power moves, began to lead the team to exploits. Truba finally resigned himself to the fact that he would no longer be an attacking defender in this team, and turned into a real enforcer.

In Gallan’s system, there is no trace left of the time of the Trumpet, who constantly brought attacks to his gates. In the regular season, Jacob showed the second indicator of usefulness in the team – “+25” (in his debut season for the Rangers, he had “-12”), and in the playoffs he was marked by the same power reception against Sidney Crosby, the legitimacy of which is disputed on the other side of the ocean have not subsided so far.

“Have you seen this hit?” The Rangers dirty cut Crosby out of the game and then made a comeback

Enough has already been said about Jacob’s leadership qualities over the past year. It was Truba who first made public the slogan under which the Rangers played in the last playoffs: “No one gives up in New York.” It was Trumpet who was the real leader of the Rangers in the Stanley Cup. And the word “leader” should not be understood at all as the person who plays hockey best of all, scores the most goals or gives the most assists. The team captain is not appointed for these qualities at all. This is exactly what Panarin was talking about when he explained why he should not become the captain. Therefore, the choice of Pipe can be considered sensational only at first glance.

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“Dear Rangers fans, I am honored and privileged to be named the next captain of the New York Rangers.

After I was informed about this, the first thing I did was look at who was the captain before me. Mark Messier, Brian Leitch, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury – these are the players I watched as a child, dreaming of one day being in their place.

As soon as I became a “ranger”, I immediately began to learn more about the history of the organization. I began to realize that I would see more and more sweaters with the same names – Howell, Bathgate, Hadfield, Esposito. All of these players have had a lasting impact on the NHL and have become true Rangers legends.

In the training center, two T-shirts that are hanging on the walls catch my eye. This is a mid 70s Phil Esposito jersey and a 1994 Mark Messier jersey. Both T-shirts have the letter “C” embroidered on the front. The look of these T-shirts confirms the fact that not every player is honored with such an honor, not to mention being the captain of the Original Six team.

Sharing this honor with players who used to captain the Rangers is something special for me. I don’t take this lightly. I have already said that I need some time to adjust to the new role. After moving to a new team, moving to a new city, it took a significant part of my debut season before I felt at home here. Now this is my home.

It was amazing to get a taste of playoff hockey last season at Madison Square Garden. You guys brought an energy to the stands with you that we felt throughout the city. We’ve all enjoyed the Stanley Cup race and now I’m looking forward to the new season. I feel like we are on the right track and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for our team.

I know I’m ready for this. There will be difficulties on our way, we will face problems, but I will give everything that I have. Our goal is to bring the Stanley Cup to New York. And although I cannot promise that we will definitely do it, I can promise that I will give my heart for this.

Thank you, Rangers fans, for your constant and unwavering support. I can’t wait to see you all in the Garden this year. This is your captain, Jacob Truba,” wrote the American defender in an address to the fans of the team after the main appointment of his career.

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