James Dolan said recently that the Rangers need "strong leadership" in the locker room moving forward and noted that he didn't think the team had "great leadership" last season. (NY Post)
Dolan said that Ryan McDonagh was a really good player for the Rangers but that making him the captain may have added a burden to his game. (NY Post)
Jeff Gorton said that a captain "has to have great leadership ability, the ability to go out on the ice and perform at a level everyone wants to follow."
Gorton also said that the next coach of the Rangers will likely be more "hands on" than Alain Vigneault was.
When asked what his role for next season could be, Mats Zuccarello said "same as it's always been, I have to be a leader, same thing and give 100% every night, that is the only thing you can control. The mindset for everyone should be that, no matter where or when, the only thing you can control is to give 100% and that is the mindset everyone should have and everyone will have next year. If we all have that it's going to be good."
Kevin Shattenkirk said that he regretted not taking a bigger role in the locker room last season and said that the veterans need to set an example for the young players and create the culture they want to move forward with.
Shattenkirk said, "rebuilds go a lot faster when you have the right mentality and are pushing for a goal to make playoffs and win a championship. If you are just settling next year then we are going to be going through this process a lot longer than we need to."
Adam Rotter: Henrik Lundqvist sets the example with his work ethic and competitiveness but the Rangers need someone up front who can do the same and set a tone for everyone to follow. Ryan McDonagh was the right choice to be captain when the decision was made but in retrospect having the "C" on his jersey may have hurt his game more than it helped. He worked hard and tried to lead by example but there were a lot of times where it just seemed like he was trying to do too much on the ice and it hurt his game. I'm not sure that the next captain of the Rangers will be the long-term captain in the way that McDonagh was expected to be, but more of a bridge for a few years before they see if someone like Lias Andersson or one of the other young players is ready for that kind of spot.