New York Rangers: Should Mats Zuccarello Be An Alternate Captain?
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 22: Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 22, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Rangers shut out the Devils 2-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After buying out Dan Girardi and trading Derek Stepan, the New York Rangers have two vacant alternate captain positions. Only one should be filled.

The New York Rangers lost two alternate captains in the offseason. Adam Rotter of believes only one should be replaced, and that the player to fill that role should be Mats Zuccarello. I couldn’t agree more.

Don’t be fooled by Zuccarello’s 5’7″, 179-pound frame. He plays a big game, big minutes and comes through in big spots. He’s a proven scorer who leaves it all on the ice every night. He’s about to enter his eighth season with the Blueshirts, giving him tenure. And he’s already proven himself as a leader, both on the ice and in the dressing room.

Last season the team used four alternate captains—two at home and two on the road. That’s just too many. But as for the talk that the Rangers need more leaders, those folks couldn’t be more wrong.

Ryan McDonagh remains the team’s captain, while veteran forward Rick Nash deservedly continues to serve as one of the team’s alternates.

Adding Zuccarello to the mix would give the Rangers a trio of solid leaders to lean upon. In time, I believe that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed with the team as a free agent in the offseason, would be a fine choice as a third alternate.

But for now, McDonagh, Nash and Zuccarello can provide the Rangers will all the leadership they need.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at