Is Jacob Trouba in line to be the next Rangers captain?
As the conversation about Rangers captain is largely between Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, I’d like to insert dark horse Jacob Trouba into the mix. He’s not the guy you turn to immediately, as he’s not the longest tenured or even the “most fun” guy you see out there. But it’s clear the Rangers players and coaches see something in him.
The case for Trouba
Trouba was given an ‘A’ upon arrival in New York. It’s rare the Rangers give a letter to someone before they even spend a year with the team. Chris Drury comes to mind. I think Rick Nash was given an ‘A’ upon arrival too. But that’s it.
Trouba, 27, is an 8 year NHL veteran and the clear leader on the blue line. He may not be the best player on the team, but he’s the guy they look up to for guidance. When it comes to leadership, he’s the guy that’s been there before on a rebuilding team and a competing team with Winnipeg.
While critics will bring up his contract, Trouba is much better than people give him credit for. He’s about break-even defensively. The Rangers do have better numbers without him on the ice, but he’s not a detriment, which is important. He’s also a net-12% swing offensively. Combine the two, and you have a net-positive on the ice.
Performance isn’t necessarily a required input into leadership, but it seems logical that having your worst player at captain wouldn’t instill confidence. While Trouba’s contract is likely headed towards overpayment, it’s not like he’s hurting them out there.
One last thing about Trouba. Just a week ago, we were told how David Quinn and the coaching staff left the Rangers alone in the locker room after getting caved in by the Devils in the second period. It was Trouba who rallied the Rangers to a much better third period and a win.
The Subtle Signs
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Rangers seem to be running more Trouba related propaganda. There’s been a lot of Sam and Joe discussing how great of a leader Trouba is. How important to the team he is. It’s just amazing how the team rallies around him. Sound familiar?
The broadcast also never hesitates to remind us about how he rallied the locker room against the Devils. And about how the coaching staff left the team alone and let Trouba guide them to a much stronger third period.
The BSB team had a chat about the Trouba propaganda recently. We all seemed to agree that they may be setting the table for Trouba to be named captain. This would likely be next season.
Why not Kreider or Zibanejad? Does it matter?
With all the prior talk about Kreider or Zibanejad, what happened? Well for Zibanejad, it’s about his future with the team. Will he be with the Rangers when his current contract is up? Will he price himself out of New York? After all, he will be 29 when his current deal ends. Do the Rangers commit 7 years to him? It wouldn’t be an issue until 4-5 years into the contract. Uncertainty matters.
As for Kreider, he’s usually the guy that is available for post game pressers. He also gives more candid answers, for the most part. As the longest tenured Ranger, he’s the guy you think they’d turn to. However after two years of not naming a captain, perhaps they want to go a different direction.
In the end though, the actual letter matters less than it did in the past. The team will always have that group of guys they rally around. Not all will have letters, and it may not always be the guy with the ‘C’. The guy with the ‘C’ will always be the go to guy for the media. There’s a certain personality that is needed. In the end, Jacob Trouba as the Rangers captain may be that exact personality.