While the Ottawa Senators have named their captain for the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, many have not.
Without the support of previous captain, Daniel Alfredsson, many Senator’s fans believe that their team is on the way down. An early exit from last years playoffs brought on many changes such as the addition of Bobby Ryan.
The Senators, like many teams this season, were without a set leader. Jason Spezza, a long veteran forward for the Senators, seemed like the perfect fit. But what about Erik Karelsson, Milan Michalek or even, Bobby Ryan? All bring talent to the team. Erik Karlsson is said to be one of the best defenseman in the league. Milan Michalek averages about 18 goals per game. Bobby Ryan was part of the infamous Perry-Getslaf-Ryan line until it became clear that Anaheim had had enough of his talent. He’ll be a strong contribution to the team.
So why Spezza?
Karelsson, aged 23 and Michalek, age 28, may not be fit to lead their team if Ovechkin in Washington is any example. Pittsburgh and Chicago got lucky. Electing someone 20 years old to run your team only works if that person is Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews. Although most teams try to gain younger players, a younger captain may not be the best choice for your team.
Also, picking a new comer like Ryan wouldn’t really be fair to Spezza or the other veterans.
This leads us to look at the many teams that are still without a captain heading into this season. Among the teams looking for captains this year are: Dallas, Edmonton and Calgary. Although there are many others, I believe that these teams have difficult choices to make.
Dallas: The stars have brought in a few star players this off-season however, we can’t expect them to just be handed the ‘C’. Sean Horcoff is probably the one newbie who could be in contention. Seguin, due to his recent ‘Patrick Kane’ like adventures, won’t be anywhere near the ‘C’. The polls say that it’ll be Jamie Benn, a young yet mature skater who is signed through 2016-17. Horcoff is simply a contender because he has had experience on his prior team, the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton: With Sean Horcoff gone to the stars, the Oilers are left with a majority of young guys stepping up to take the captain position. While Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have gained more maturity through out their years on the team, they may not be the best choice to lead Edmonton. Hall, the oldest of the trio, is the most likely of them to be named captain. However, Andrew Ference, at 34, is also a choice. Ryan Smyth is a possibility although he’s been there forever and is likely on his way to golfing all year round.
Calgary: Although the flames are still in the rebuilding stage, a good captain is one of the first steps to reaching the playoffs or even placing high up in a division. Good leadership helps make a good team. With long time captain Jarome Iginla gone, the flames are left to choose from their few remaining veterans. Mark Giordano and Curtis Glencross both wore the ‘A’ last season and it will likely be one of them wearing the ‘C’ this year. Matt Stajan and Michael Cammellari are also possibilities. Goal scoring doesn’t make the captain but it does help so Stajan is likely out. The Flames tried to ship Cammellari off to other teams this off season meaning that he’s also likely out of the race. As for Glencross and Giordano, it will probably come down to length of contract and age. Giordano, at age 29 is signed with the flames through 2015-16 and Glencross, at age 30, is signed for the same amount of time.
However, going with a veteran like Giordano or Glencross may not be how the Flames choose to go. They’re bringing in young mediocre forwards and defence in their re-building stages. A younger captain may also be in their plans.
With Brian Burke now looking over the shoulder of Jay Feaster, we may see some changes in that rebuilding itsself. Provided we don’t end up with a captain like Dion Phaneuf, Burke will make some good changes in Calgary.
As for the captain position, only time will tell. It’s possible that the flames will go through the season without one.
As for Spezza, he may be the change Ottawa needs to bring them to the Stanley Cup Finals.