It’s been a very long summer, a very sad summer, and a summer that is now coming to an end. After another impressive win by the Rangers prospects at Traverse City, the Rangers announced on Twitter that they would be naming the 26th Captain of the franchise tomorrow (today).
Well, the waiting is over. Ryan Callahan, the heart and soul of the Rangers, has been named the 26th Captain of this storied franchise. We all knew it was coming, but needed it to be made official.
Not too long ago, the Rochester, New York native was drafted 127th overall by the Rangers in 2004. Little did the 19 year old know, seven years later he would be the Captain of an Original Six franchise.
After being drafted, Callahan went back to the OHL for a third season with the Guelph Storm, putting up 54 points in 60 games. Callahan made it his goal to improve and boy did he improve. The next season, Ryan scored 52 goals and totaled for 82 points in 62 games. He then went on to accumulate 24 points in 13 playoff games. It was then that the Rangers knew he was ready to turn pro.
In his first AHL season, Callahan didn’t lose a step, putting up 35 goals and 55 points in 60 games. After being called up and sent back down, he was called up again, and this time he was here to stay.
The 26 year old has accumulated 144 points in 284 NHL games, 48 of which came last year, a season in which Callahan only played 60 games due to injury. Being the Captain in the NHL isn’t all about racking up points, it isn’t about being the most talented player. It is about leading by example. A guy that is willing to stand in front of a Zdeno Chara slap-shot can be the Captain of my team any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It is the never die effort, the endless motor, and the grittiness that Callahan displays on every shift of every game that has made him the Captain.
Callahan looks to improve upon his numbers from last season and play more games than last season, but that won’t prevent him from blocking shots, checking, and being a leader on the ice. He will lead this team as far as they are willing to follow him, and by my estimates, that is pretty far.
We all remember last season’s home opener when all of the players were announced. Let me assure you, on October 27th, the roof at Madison Square Garden will be blown off. Get ready for it Ranger fans: “And your Captain, number 24, Ryannnnnn Callllllahannnnn”. Let the Callahan era, begin!