After having gone without a captain since Ryan McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 2nd, 2018, the Rangers finally made a decision and announced 28 year old Jacob Trouba will become the 28th captain in franchise history.
He is the 11th defenseman to carry the C for the team, and is the second consecutive blue liner following McDonagh's earlier three and a half year stint. Trouba is the senior leader on a young blue line, and even at 28 is already 4 years older than both Adam Fox and Libor Hajek, the next two most senior players in terms of age.
After going through David Quinn's three year tenure without a captain, it was expected that Gerard Gallant would name someone in camp, with the newly hired coach suggesting as much in his early exchanges with the media. Plans changed though, and the team instead went with a broad roster of alternates, including Trouba.
A vocal leader in the lockerroom, Trouba was one of those that players pointed to in the exit interviews and subsequent reports, as being a leader who helped the team stay even, and believe in themselves. He also delivered a critical hit in the first round that knocked Sidney Crosby out of part of Game 5 as well as Game 6, allowing the Rangers to even up the series. He also delivered a significant hit to Seth Jarvis in Game 7 in the round two series, as the Rangers again completed a comeback.
With four more years on his contract at an AAV of $8 million, including two with a full No Move Clause (NMC), Trouba figures to be an almost certain part of the Rangers future for at least the next two seasons before his modified No Trade Clause (NTC) kicks in.
That signficant commitment is likely to come under further scrutiny next Summer when the Rangers face the prospect of trying to extend K'Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere, Vitali Kravtsov, Filip Chytil and Zac Jones, while keeping their core together. His contract already looks expesnive, and will look even moreso if the Rangers are forced to give up one or more of those younger players to accommodate him.
While he can be a game changer, his inconsistent defensive play was part of the reason the Rangers ranked 24th in the league in High Danger Chances Against, during the regular season, and last amongst teams in the playoffs. That sort of play will likely draw more attention with his increased role for the team, and could become a distraction for a fan base that is always looking for the next defenseman to scapegoat.