Dave Quinn knows Kevin Shattenkirk better than any other player on the roster, but there are much better options to become the next captain of the New York Rangers.
Hired as head coach by the New York Rangers, David Quinn will be forced to decide on who his first captain will be. Of course, this decision has been looming due to the fact the Rangers did not name a captain after trading Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There is some debate amongst fans as to who the next captain should be. Some, like ESNY’s Brandon Spreckels, feel that Mats Zuccarello is the natural leader that the Rangers want wearing the C. However, ESNY’s Frank Curto feels that Chris Kreider is the right man for the job.
Dave Quinn knows Kevin Shattenkirk better than either of them, having been an assistant coach when Shattenkirk played at Boston University and was also an assistant when he played with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League. Thus, Quinn could look to a familiar face to lead his new team and name Shattenkirk the captain.
While Shattenkirk will surely be leaned on to provide leadership by Quinn, the rookie coach shouldn’t name him the captain.
Shattenkirk is a solid player and a veteran of eight years in the league. He was a Rangers fan as a child and there have been no reports that paint him in a negative light as a teammate. He’s played on four different teams in his NHL career, so he’s seen it all.
That said, he did struggle in his first season in the blue and red. Injuries limited him to 46 games as he often struggled to keep up with forwards while defending.
It’s reasonable to expect him to bounce back, but his confidence is no doubt a little shaken after his struggles last season. The pressure of wearing the captain’s C is something that he doesn’t need while trying to regain his confidence.
Another issue with Shattenkirk is playing style. While Shattenkirk is an amazingly talented offensive player, he struggles defensively on occasion.
While his offense makes the occasional defensive lapses tolerable, when looking for a captain a team wants a player that is strong in all aspects of the game. Shattenkirk is a player who relies on his offense to make up for his defense.
That is problematic for a team with a lot of young players. Very often, defense is the last thing to come along for a young player establishing themselves in the NHL. On a young team, which the Rangers are set to be, it’s even more important to have a defensively responsible player serving as the captain.
A final reason is that there are other players who simply deserve the C more than Shattenkirk does. Shattenkirk has only played 46 games as a member of the Rangers. Zuccarello has played 463 games for the team while Kreider has suited up for 381 games as a Ranger.
Zuccarello is the spark plug that makes the Rangers go. Despite being listed at a generous 5-foot-7, he is the grittiest player on the team. He’s always battling for pucks in the corner and going to the front of the net to battle for rebounds and screen goalies.
Kreider is stands at 6-foot-3 and is listed at 226 pounds. Despite his size, he’s one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, and is capable of being an unstoppable force on any given night. Consistency has been an issue for the winger throughout his career, but many nights he’s the most noticeable player on the ice.
While Kevin Shattenkirk is a good player, there are more deserving options to serve as captain.