The captain of an NHL team is the heart and leader of the franchise, they are expected to lead both on and off the ice. Six NHL teams are without captains at the moment; the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, Vegas Golden Knights, and Arizona Coyotes. These teams have leaders, it is just a matter of who will get a “C” on the front of their jersey this season. Here is who should get the honor of donning the “C” on their jersey for these six teams.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Dion Phaneuf, the last captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was traded to Ottawa on February 9, 2016 as part of a nine player deal. As a result, Toronto went without a captain last season. Instead of naming a captain, Toronto had four alternate captains; Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Roman Polak, and Tyler Bozak. Morgan Rielly is who I think will get the “C” in Toronto this season, with Bozak, and Patrick Marleau becoming the alternate captains.
Two years ago Nashville shipped their long-standing captain Shea Weber to Montreal for PK Subban as a blockbuster deal. After Weber was gone, Nashville named Mike Fisher as the captain. After their run to the Stanley Cup Final, Fisher decided to hang up his skates and retire from professional hockey. Who will Nashville give the “C” to this season? Roman Josi is your answer. Josi is currently the longest tenured Predator, as he was part of the original core. He and Ryan Ellis were the alternates last season, so I am expecting Josi to become the captain and Ellis and Filip Forsberg to become the alternates.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are heading into their inaugural season in the NHL, and do not have a captain. The NHL has a rule against giving goaltenders the “C” on the front of their jerseys. However, in 2008 the Vancouver Canucks named Roberto Luongo the 12th captain in franchise history. This season I believe that Vegas should designate Marc-Andre Fleury as the first captain in franchise history. “The Flower” as he is known is the life of that team, is going around Vegas doing promotional work, and so far is the face of the franchise. James Neal wore an “A” in Nashville and, he will probably do so on the Strip as well.
Shane Doan helped build hockey in Arizona. He is the reason that Auston Matthews is a Toronto Maple Leaf. Doan was the last remaining member of the original Winnipeg Jets in the NHL, and he moved to Glendale with the franchise. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was rumored to be named the captain which makes sense, he is a leader and wore an “A” last season. He is the best player in Arizona, and is the captain of the future.
The captain of the Buffalo Sabres, Brian Gionta was not resigned this offseason. In a trade with Minnesota, Buffalo recieved Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella, and a 2018 4th round pick in exchange for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, and a 2018 3rd round pick. Pominville was the Sabres captain before April of 2013. I expect him to be named the captain and wear the “C” in Buffalo once again.
Eric Staal was traded to the New York Rangers in 2016, and since then Carolina hasn’t named a captain. In 2017, the Hurricanes went with four alternates instead of two alternates and a captain. This season, Justin Faulk will probably get named as a captain if they choose to name one. He was one of the four alternates they had last season. Faulk would be a good choice because of how long he has been with the team. Justin Williams would also be a good choice, as he and Cam Ward are the only two members of the 2006 Stanley Cup Championship team left. Williams was signed this offseason as a free agent. I ultimately expect Justin Faulk to be named the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes.
These six NHL teams have no captain as of now, and will probably name one before the beginning of the season. You can read more articles like this one at LWOSports.com and follow us on Twitter at @LastWordOnSport