Artemi Panarin doesn’t want a “C” in her sweater for the 2021-22 season.
The New York Rangers forward told “Hockey in the No” on Instagram that he doesn’t want to be the team captain because he believes there are more qualified competitors.
“I think we now have more qualified candidates for that role,” Panarin told NHL.com every Friday. “Do I want it? I’d rather say no, actually.”
“It’s not just putting a letter on the sweater and taking pictures. It’s a lot of rough work in the locker room. Interviewing, the face of the franchise. Overall, it’s a lot of work out of the ice.”
Panarin is entering his third season after agreeing a seven-year, 11.5 million deal with the franchise in July.
The 29-year-old added that he feared he would “not be an effective captain.”
“I can’t even speak English,” Panarin said. “How can I inspire? I can only be influenced by my own game. And they will listen to me without a letter.”
Panerin scored 153 points (goals, 104 assists) in 111 appearances for the Rangers and was a Hart Trophy finalist as the NHL’s MVP in 201-20-20. His 1.38 points are third in the NHL in the last two seasons behind Connor McDavid and Leon Driesitel per NHL.com.
Chris Drury, general manager of the Rangers, said naming a captain for the 2021-22 season was a “priority”. Ryan McDonagh has not been a captain in New York since doing business at Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019.
Craider is the longest serving Rangers player. The 300-year-old spent his entire nine-year NHL career in New York in 2009. He has also appeared in play0 play-off games for the Massachusetts Native Blu-shirt, scoring points (2 goals, 15 assists).
It’s not clear if the Rangers want to name him captain. However, with six years left for his seven-year deal, the 45 45.5 million deal he signed before the 2020-21 season, he is certainly a strong candidate.