With the departures of Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund, the Rangers are left without their two alternate captains from 2008-2009. As the 2009-2010 Rangers roster begins to take shape, who will be taking up the leadership role alongside Chris Drury? What qualifies someone as a leader of the team? Locker room presence? Of course. Handling the media? Definitely. Tenure with the team? Probably. Leading by example? Definitely.
Usually this conversation begins with the longest tenured Ranger. With Blair Betts gone, the longest tenured Ranger is none other than Michael Rozsival, who is entering his fifth season with the team. While most Ranger fans will cringe at the thought of Rozsival with an ‘A’, I actually welcome the idea. I am one of the few who supports Rozsival, granted that contract is a bit much, because he does everything mentioned above. He definitely was more accessible than Scott Gomez last season, and although he is prone to the lapse every now and then, he doesn’t take a shift off. He definitely played through the rehab of his hip this past season, and that shows guts. Playing with a dysfunctional hip is damn near impossible.
It is obvious that Tortorella will be leaning on Rozsival heavily next season, especially on the powerplay (for the love of all that is holy, SHOOT!), and I get the feeling that this season will be a great one for Rosy, matching up to his 07-08 campaign.
But what about the other ‘A’? Following the Torts line of thinking, it will probably go to one of the young guns. I’m guessing one of Staal, Dubinsky or Callahan will get it. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess Dubinsky, who became Torts’ workhorse after taking over, will get the first shot with the other ‘A’.
But Dubinsky is just 23, and entering his third season. If he’s not ready to wear the ‘A’, maybe one of Gaborik or Higgins will be wearing it.
Drury with the ‘C’, and Roszival/Dubinsky with the ‘A’s? I see nothing wrong with this.