If New York Rangers Win it All, Who Gets the Cup First?


Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

“Jonathan Toews, come get the Stanley Cup!’ was the phrase uttered by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the conclusion of last year’s finals, continuing a long standing trend at the post game ceremony.

“The Captain of a Stanley Cup winning franchise, as Toews is for the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, is the first to hoist the most revered trophy in North American sports, but Ranger fans are hoping for something different this time.

The New York Rangers are currently captain-less. They traded away their last captain, Ryan Callahan, prior to the trade deadline in a package to acquire Martin St. Louis, so the wuestion is: if the Rangers prevail, who does Bettman call to claim the cup? These are my top six candidates (ordered from least to most likely):

6) Mark Staal: At a time he was the Rangers best defense man, but a freak eye injury and the emergence of two men, who will be listed later, have lessened Staal ‘s role on the blueline. He is essentially an ‘honorable mention’ on this list because he wears an ‘A’ on his sweater. I find it doubtful he would be the choice.

5) Dan Girardi: Another d-man who wears an ‘A’ for the Blueshirts. Girardi was originally Staal’s right hand man on the point, but has surpassed him in recent seasons to be paired with the man who will be number 3 on this list. Another unlikely candidate, but Girardi has become a heart and soul player for this franchise.

4) Martin St. Louis: Acquired for the former captain Callahan. A terrific veteran player who was brought in to get the Rangers over the hump, and he is very close to fulfilling those expectations. The loss of his mother during the Penguins series seemed to galvanize the team. He has become a leader on and off the ice for the franchise very quickly. His impact cannot be understated. To me, he is the first real candidate on this list.

3) Ryan McDonagh: The Rangers rock on the blue line. McDonagh has progressed rapidly over the past few seasons to become one of the premier defenseman in the NHL. He is the cornerstone of a very solid defensive team.

2) Brad Richards: The most frequent response when asking fans who the leader of this team is in the absence of Callahan is Brad Richards. Richards had a rocky season last year for the Rangers, but has bounced back to have a good year this year and has continued his fine play into the playoffs. A natural leader with Stanley Cup pedigree, well deserving of the “A” on his chest. Would be no shock if he were to collect the cup from Bettman if the time comes.

But, to me, there’s only one correct answer here;

1) Henrik Lundqvist: I know, I know, goalies can’t be captains. I don’t care. This is Henrik’s team and if they win four more games this season he will be the biggest reason why. He has carried them here and if they make it to the promised land it’ll be on his back. Undoubtedly the Rangers best player for many years, Lundqvist has been even better in the postseason. He has been a Ranger for nine seasons and has never played for another franchise, and likely never will.

Heck, I know the fans don’t care who lifts it first, as long as it’s a Blueshirt. “Daniel Carcillo, come get the Stanley Cup!” has a nice ring to it, right?