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Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: NHL captains
Some people believe the importance of having a good captain is overplayed, but they really can be difference-makers at tough times during a season. As of today, there are eight teams without a captain. Who should those teams designate as their new captain?
Previous captain: Craig Rivet
In past years the Sabres had a rotating captaincy between Chris Drury, Danny Briere and numerous others. Craig Rivet then took it over full-time in 2008. However, the voice of reason for the Sabres is Ryan Miller. To many, he is the unofficial captain of the team. Current Sabres Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht were a part of the rotation in the 2007-08 season, but there doesn’t seem to be one great fit as captain.
Though a vocal leader can always emerge, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go back to the rotation or not hand a ‘C’ out at all. No matter what happens, Miller is Buffalo’s leader.
Previous captain: Adam Foote
The Colorado Avalanche have only had two captains since moving to Denver – Joe Sakic and Adam Foote. Whoever takes over the reins as captain, I’m sure management would want that player to be a part of the organization for a long time. That’s why I feel Matt Duchene will eventually get the ‘C’.
They may let him grow into the role and not give him the extra duty right away, but Duchene is the face and the future of the franchise. After living with Foote in the first two years in Colorado, Duchene also got to see first-hand how to carry himself as captain.
Previous captain: Bryan McCabe
Ever since breaking into the league, Florida hasn’t had a stable captain. Their last one, Bryan McCabe, was the locker room leader for just a year and a half before getting traded. The organization also hasn’t been afraid to leave the role completely vacant for a whole season. Stephen Weiss was an alternate captain last year, but I think they’ll go a different route.
Defenseman Ed Jovanovski brings a lot of leadership, experience and character to the table, something that their team doesn’t have much of. Additionally, ‘Jovo’ is an ex-Panther and signed a four-year contract. He seems to be the best fit on a young team.
New Jersey Devils
Previous captain: Jamie Langenbrunner
Jamie Langenbrunner, the last Devil to don the ‘C’, wasn’t exactly the best in the locker room with Jacques Lemaire on board. Now since the veteran forward has moved on for good, it’s time for the Devils to get a new captain.
A popular fit is Zach Parise, but will he be staying in town long-term? Ilya Kovalchuk was the captain in Atlanta and is signed for the next decade-plus. One can assume Patrik Elias, who was the captain in 2006-07, is a candidate as well. It’s hard to say which one of these three would be the front-runner. If Parise gets locked up long-term, he’d move to the front of the line.
New York Islanders
Previous captain: Doug Weight
Islanders captains have come and gone in short order in recent years; Bill Guerin and Doug Weight were the last two captains. With the franchise having a roster looking more towards the future, could John Tavares be the favorite to get the ‘C’ on Long Island? He is young, but similarly to Duchene, is the face and future of the franchise. However, he may not possess the same leadership skills just yet.
Other possibilities are Kyle Okposo, who wore an ‘A’ most of last year, and Mark Streit, who is a calm veteran voice.
New York Rangers
Previous captain: Chris Drury
Even before Drury was bought out, people in the Big Apple knew who his successor would be as captain. Our own Patrick Hoffman even wrote about it back in March. Ryan Callahan seems to be a natural fit as the Rangers’ next captain. He wore the ‘A’ last year as the alternate captain and has full respect from his teammates because of his hard work and determination on the ice. Marc Staal is another possibility, but he’s not very vocal. Look for Callahan to be wearing the ‘C’ for the Blueshirts this upcoming season.
Previous captain: Mike Richards
Mike Richards was often scrutinized during his captaincy, criticized for not being mature enough to be a captain in the NHL. Now that he has been dealt, the list of players who could replace Richards is short – Chris Pronger or Kimmo Timonen.
Both Pronger and Timonen have been captains in the past with previous teams, Anaheim and Nashville, respectively. Pronger may be the better candidate, however. He has been there done that, has had numerous accolades throughout his career and deals with the media a lot better than Richards. How can Pronger not have the respect of an entire locker room?
St. Louis Blues
Previous captain: Eric Brewer
For the last three seasons, Eric Brewer wore the ‘C’ for St. Louis. At the time he gained the captaincy, it was a young team without much direction; things have changed a bit. The core of the Blues has grown/is growing together, including David Backes. There are a handful of veterans on board, but why not hand over the keys to Backes?
He is the clear leader on the ice. Though he may play on the edge at times, he always has the back of his teammates. The 27-year-old was drafted by the Blues in 2003, has a lot of character and was an alternate captain last year. Put simply, Backes deserves the ‘C’.
List of current captains:
Anaheim – Ryan Getzlaf
Boston – Zdeno Chara
Calgary – Jarome Iginla
Carolina – Eric Staal
Chicago – Jonathan Toews
Columbus – Rick Nash
Dallas – Brendan Morrow
Detroit – Nicklas Lidstrom
Edmonton – Shawn Horcoff
Los Angeles – Dustin Brown
Minnesota – Mikko Koivu
Montreal – Brian Gionta
Nashville – Shea Weber
Ottawa – Daniel Alfredsson
Phoenix – Shane Doan
Pittsburgh – Sidney Crosby
San Jose – Joe Thornton
Tampa Bay – Vincent Lecavalier
Toronto – Dion Phaneuf
Vancouver – Henrik Sedin
Washington – Alex Ovechkin
Winnipeg – Andrew Ladd
Photos credit: Getty Images
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