Jacob Trouba will be representing the New York Rangers as team captain when they begin their 2022-23 season this fall. He was named captain on Aug. 9, the first since the trade of Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning during 2017-18. He spent the last two years as one of the organization’s alternate captains and speculation arose he was one of the finalists to be named their next captain.
Trouba has been recognized as one of the Rangers’ leaders since they traded for him in June 2019 for Neal Pionk and their 20th-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. They have benefited from the acquisition as he has been one of their top defensemen the past few seasons along with Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren. Let’s take a look at why the club made a good decision on naming him their 28th captain in its history.
Trouba Has Made the Most Of His Opportunity Playing In a Tough Environment
After the Rangers acquired Trouba, he recognized the opportunity to play for an Original Six franchise, “I’m super excited for a new hockey opportunity and a new place. It’s different, so that’s something you’re naturally excited about. I haven’t thought too much into it, but I know a couple of guys there. You know about the city and playing at MSG on the road, for me, was one of my favourite spots to play. Just with the history and the crowd and the buzz, it’s just a whole new world. I’m excited for new avenues of life and new experiences,” (from ‘Personal decision for Trouba: Jets weren’t the issue for departing defenceman,’ Winnipeg Sun, 6/18/19).
Trouba further cemented his place as a leader following the offseason depatures of Jesper Fast and Marc Staal after 2019-20. He has contributed to the Rangers’ leadership along with Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Artemi Panarin, and Barclay Goodrow over the course of the last two seasons. He has played his part in rallying the team during tough stretches, such as when they trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins three games to one during their first-round series in 2021-22.
According to Strome on the Missin Curfew podcast, “Jacob Trouba did a great job. We got shellacked like 7-2 (Game 4) and we had a big team meeting. He got all the boys together and he really made everyone believe that you have to take it one at a time. You win that first one and we knew we’re going to win Game 5. If we bring it back to Pittsburgh you never know what can happen. He threw big hits but he answered the bell every single time. I can’t say enough about him as a player and a person. I think he did an unreal job with the leadership group. A lot of things behind the scenes that aren’t easy to do in New York. You got families living in Connecticut, guys living in the City, it’s not easy to put that stuff together.”
The Rangers managed to rally and defeat the Penguins in part due to their alternate captains stepping up and Trouba, in particular, had a significant hand in their leadership. Based on Strome’s comments, the newly appointed captain will be up to the task of representing the organization as such. He is only the third defenseman currently in the league representing their franchises as captain. Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are the other blueliners who hold the top leadership role for their respective franchises.
Trouba will captain the Rangers as they attempt to win the Stanley Cup a year after losing in the 2022 Eastern Conference Final. Expectations for a championship have not been at this high of a level for them since 2013-14 when they lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings. He has the respect of his peers on the Rangers in addition to the coaching staff and front office to represent the team as its primary leader. While a good portion of the fanbase may have anticipated Chris Kreider or Mika Zibanejad to be named captain, it is not unexpected that the Rochester, Michigan, native is the recipient of the captaincy. He has been rumored to be the next captain since last season and has demonstrated exceptional qualities of character and leadership through his playing career on and off the ice that have resulted in him receiving this privilege.