Could Adam Fox be the choice for Rangers captain?
Since Chris Drury made it known the Rangers will be naming a captain, there has been rampant speculation about who the captain will be. The big three in the running appear to be Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Jacob Trouba. All three wear A’s today, and all three are viewed as locker room leaders. But Adam Fox has had his name thrown in the ring for Rangers captain by Joe Micheletti, mentioned on Monday night’s broadcast.
Of the two kids on that pair, the smart money may have been on Ryan Lindgren. He seems to be the classic Rangers leader in the mold of Adam Graves. Always in the mix, solid contributor but not a star, and bleeds for the team. Fox on the other hand, is very clearly the best defenseman on the team. He’s also the best defenseman in the league right now. But does it make sense to hand him the captaincy after just two seasons?
It’s not about who is the best
This is something that is often lost on captain selection. Of the last few Rangers captains, most of them, save for Ryan Callahan, were the best players on the team. Ryan McDonagh, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, etc. They were all easily the best players on their respective teams. Callahan was the only outlier here. It’s worth noting that Callahan was viewed as a good captain, as were Messier and Jagr. McDonagh and Leetch, not so much.
There’s no rhyme or reason to skill making the best captain. Fox winning the Norris, while an amazing feat, is relatively irrelevant when it comes to how he’s viewed in the locker room. This is all about the human factor, something we know nothing about.
Perhaps a future captain instead
Names for captain don’t get tossed out for no reason. Much like how Joe was talking about Jacob Trouba for captain towards the end of last season, there’s a reason Fox had his name mentioned. We can point to a specific event with Trouba, as the Devils game when he rallied the team is often mentioned in his candidacy. With Fox, we don’t necessarily have that, but it’s mostly for fans to make things easier to decipher.
Fox is still just a third year pro, and it is relatively rare for someone so young to be handed the captain reins. There can be a stopgap captain so that Fox doesn’t take the full responsibility immediately. Again Trouba comes to mind here, especially as a defenseman who can help guide Fox when it comes to addressing the human factor in the locker room.
There’s some merit in naming a stopgap captain before naming the captain for the long haul. Not everyone is Steve Yzerman, who can take the C from the start and hold it for his entire career. He’s the unicorn. Giving Fox the A before the C would ease him into the role.
We often talk about easing prospects into big roles. Why would this be any different?