There are 31 teams in the National Hockey League (with the incoming addition of Vegas), and every team has a player who is labeled as their captain, and then they have two to three players that are labeled as alternate captains. Captains have the responsibility of leading their team on and off the ice, and the endless responsibilities that they take as a captain of a national hockey team. Thirty players around the National Hockey League, have claimed the responsibility as a captain, and they fight through everything to make sure that they can help push their team in the right direction.
Looking at the names of all the captains there are some very respectable names of talented players in the National Hockey League, such as Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, and more. There are guys that you look at and say there is no way that they are the captain of a National Hockey League team, and then there are players that you sit there and look at it and say wow why are they a captain? These players should not be a captain and they should be replaced by their teammates. Captains should be players who can lead on and off the ice, and is one of the better players on the team.
The talented players for the most part where the A's on their chest, but some of them have the luxury of having a C on their jersey. With that being said here are eight players who are currently captains that should lose their captaincy and eight teammates that should replace the team's current captain.
16 Captain - Andy Greene
Andy Greene went undrafted and entered the league in 2006. Greene became the captain of the New Jersey Devils following the retirement of Bryce Salvador before the start of the 2015-2016 NHL season. He has been the captain and New Jersey has struggled in his tenure as captain so far. Andy Greene is not an elite defenceman by any means necessary, but he has been an alright leader for the Devils and it might be time to look in a different direction.
The Devils should look to not only move on from Andy Greene as captain, but they should also look to do a complete overhaul for their franchise. Andy Greene has not accomplished more than 37 points in a single season, and has had an iffy plus minus throughout his career. Look for Andy Greene to get replaced by one of his teammates in the future.
15 Replacement - Travis Zajac
Travis Zajac has been with the New Jersey Devils since being drafted 20th overall in the 2004 NHL Draft. He is currently an alternate captain, and is one of the better players on the New Jersey Devils at the moment. Zajac looks to already be a lifetime New Jersey Devils and looks like he would help push the Devils in the right direction. With that being said Zajac has played in 779 games in his career and he has tallied 155 goals to go along with 280 assists for a combined total of 435 points in his NHL career.
Travis Zajac has a no-trade clause in his current contract and is currently under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season. With Zajac being a lifetime New Jersey Devil it is hard to say that he should not be the leader of the team.
14 Captain - Shane Doan
Shane Doan is a former seventh overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft by the then known as Winnipeg Jets, who then turned into the Phoenix Coyotes and then they relocated to Arizona. Doan has spent his illustrious 21 year career as a member of the Jets/Coyotes franchise and has enjoyed every second of it. He has been the captain of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes since the 2003-04 season, and he has been there for every single year that the Coyotes have been known as the Coyotes in the NHL.
With that being said Doan is currently 40 years old, and is an unrestricted free agent which makes it hard to believe that he will return for his 22nd season in 2017-18. Arizona is a young team that is rebuilding and it seems like it is time for Doan to hang them up.
13 Replacement - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson should be Shane Doan's replacement as captain of the Arizona Coyotes and here is why. First reason is because Ekman-Larsson will be 26 years old by the time that the 2017-18 season starts up. He is entering the prime of his career, and is already a big time leader on the ice for the Coyotes. The second reason is that he is already a alternate captain for the Coyotes so he has had some sort of responsibilities placed onto him in his young career.
Since Oliver Ekman-Larsson was drafted sixth overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, he has arguably been one of the better players for the Coyotes franchise both on the offensive side and defensive side of the ice. Ekman-Larsson is an offensive defenseman who has been a big part of Arizona's scoring ability since he entered the league. If Ekman-Larsson is struggling that means the whole Coyotes team is struggling offensively. With that being said (OEL) Oliver Ekman-Larsson should be Doan's replacement as the captain of the Coyotes because of all that he does for the franchise on and off the ice.
12 Captain - Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog is a former number two overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft and was named the captain as the Colorado Avalanche after one playing one season in the NHL. Landeskog has been good for the Avalanche throughout his young career, but with his name popping up in trade rumors left and right; it looks like his time in Colorado is coming to an end. With that being said Landeskog has a modified no trade clause in his contract, which means that he has a list of teams that he doesn't want to be traded to and he can't be traded to teams on said list.
With Landeskog's name coming up in trade rumors you have to think that the Avalanche are looking to go in a different direction for not only the 2017-18 season, but for the years to come.
11 Replacement - Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon will be 22 years old when the 2017-18 season starts, should be looked at as the potential new captain of the Colorado Avalanche. MacKinnon is a former number one overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and has been a huge part of the Avalanche's franchise since he entered the league. One thing that helps MacKinnon's case of being the next captain is that he is currently under contract till the end of the 2022-23 season.
With MacKinnon entering the prime of his career, it is time to give him "the keys" so to speak of the franchise. The likelihood of Landeskog being traded out of Colorado is relatively high, so it is time to look for another face of the franchise. There is no other name that I can look on that roster and say that Nathan MacKinnon should not be the captain of the Avalanche for the foreseeable future.
10 Captain - Mikko Koivu
Mikko Koivu was drafted sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild and he has played his whole 12 year NHL Career as a member of the Wild. Koivu was named the captain for the 2009-10 season, and he was named the first permanent captain in the history of the Minnesota Wild. In the Wild's years before (2000-2009) the Wild would have rotating captains which were between a different number of guys per season.
With that being said Mikko Koivu has a lot of Minnesota's franchise records and has been a part of the franchise since almost the beginning, but Koivu is 34 years old and is set to be a free agent after next season. With Koivu on almost the outside looking in Minnesota needs to name another captain, who can help lead them to the promise land which for them at the moment is not only the Stanley Cup Final, but the Western Conference Finals as well.
9 Replacement - Zach Parise
Zach Parise has been an all-around talent since he was drafted 17th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils. Parise spent his first seven seasons in New Jersey and then signed a 12 year deal with the Minnesota Wild during the 2012 free agency period. Since coming to Minnesota Parise has helped bring the Wild to the post season in each of his five seasons so far in Minnesota.
He has helped change the culture of the Wild and should be rewarded by being named their new captain. Parise is still under contract until after the 2024-25 season with a full no movement clause, and will be turning 40 years old by the time his contract is up. With that being said he will be around for the longevity of the remainder of his career and should be starting to wear the "C" on his jersey.
8 Captain - Brian Gionta
Brian Gionta is a former 3rd round pick from the 1998 NHL Draft, and has bounced around from New Jersey to Montreal to Buffalo in his 15 year NHL career. Gionta was named the captain of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014-15 NHL season, which makes sense due to the fact that Buffalo was a young team and they needed a veteran to help lead them into the right direction. He is currently an unrestricted free agent and could come back to Buffalo next season, but he could also retire as well.
Gionta will be 38 when the season starts, but how much does he actually have left in the tank. Look for Buffalo to move forward with the group that they currently have which does not include the re-signing of Brian Gionta.
7 Replacement - Ryan O'Reilly
Ryan O'Reilly is currently 26 years old and is entering the prime of his career, and the Buffalo Sabres are slowly starting to become his team. O'Reilly is a former second round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Draft. He was traded to Buffalo in the 2015 off-season and signed an extension with Buffalo that has him under contract until the end of the 2022-23 season. He has spent two seasons in Buffalo and he has been the player that they though he could be and has been a huge part of why Buffalo is relevant in any sort of talks at the beginning and middle of each season.
He should have the "C" on his jersey because he is already the leader on and off the ice, and I believe that it will be better for him to have it over Eichel, so it does not add any more pressure to Eichel's plate.
6 Captain - Derek MacKenzie
Derek MacKenzie was named the captain of the Florida Panthers just last season, and it already looks like there should be a new captain of the Panthers. MacKenzie is a former fifth round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft by the formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers. He has not made a dominant impact throughout his career on the stat sheet, and has not really made an impact on the Panthers while he has been the captain.
Florida is a young team with some serious talent, and should look for a captain that is more than a fourth line center. It is time for the young talent to take the reign of captains and alternate captains as the Panthers should look at the bright future ahead of them, and help start the future by naming a long-term captain.
5 Replacement - Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad is the perfect fit for the new captain that the Florida Panthers need for their franchise. Even with Ekblad as a restricted free agent, the Panthers will match the qualifying offer no matter how steep the price is. Ekblad should take the opportunity of being captain and strive with it, as Florida has a bright future if their young talent can stay healthy. The Panthers can compete in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18, but they need to have the right leader to lead them which is Aaron Ekblad.
Ekblad is a former number one overall pick from the 2014 NHL Draft, and has been an effective member of the Panthers since entering the league. With the Panthers future hanging in the balance look for Ekblad to not only be named captain, but to step up and help the Panthers be able to contend like they did in 2015-16.
4 Captain - Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara is a former third round pick by the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Draft. Chara spent four seasons with the Islanders, then he spent four seasons in Ottawa, and then he has played his last 11 seasons in Boston. He was named the captain when he signed with Boston during the 2006 free agency period, and helped lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011.
Chara is currently 40 years old and his better days are behind him, and with that being said it is time for the Bruins to not only name a new captain, but to let Chara walk after his contract expires next season. The Bruins made the playoffs a year ago, but they are starting to have more and more young talent enter their lineup which means there should be a different approach for captains and alternate captains coming up soon.
3 Replacement - Patrice Bergeron
Patrice Bergeron is the right guy for the Bruins to have as their next captain. Bergeron is hands down one of the best two-way forwards in the game today, and his play at all three levels of the ice are unbelievable. He is a former second round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, and has been a huge part of the Bruins' success in the 2010s. Also with him under contract till the end of the 2021-2022 season he is the most likely player on the Bruins who will play his entire career in Boston.
Bergeron has some good accolades in his career as he is a three-time Selke Trophy Winner (which is given for best two-way forward in a season), and has been a top five Selke Trophy finalist since the 2009-2010 season. Bergeron is in the prime of his career and should be the guy that wears the "C" for the Bruins for the future.
2 Captain - Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty's name has been criticized as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens since he became the captain for the 2015-16 season. In Pacioretty's first season as captain, the Habs missed the playoffs due to injuries to key players, but last season they finished first in the Atlantic Division only to get bounced out in the first round by the New York Rangers in six games. Pacioretty failed to score a goal in the series. Montreal needs to take the "C" off of Pacioretty before the fans of Montreal lose their minds.
The Canadiens have been great in the regular season since Pacioretty was drafted 22nd overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, but they have not made it out of the Eastern Conference since they won the Stanley Cup in 1993. Pacioretty is under contract until the end of the 2018-19 season and look for him to not have a "C" on his jersey soon enough.
1 Replacement - Shea Weber
Shea Weber is under contract with the Montreal Canadiens till the end of the 2025-26 season, and has some solid years left in him. Weber was traded from Nashville to Montreal in the 2016 offseason for P.K. Subban who was known as the face of Montreal's franchise besides Carey Price of course. Anyway, Weber is a former second round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, and will be 32 at the start of the 2017-18 season.
With that being said Weber was the captain for the Predators before he was traded to Montreal so he has the experience of being a captain under his belt. With Shea Weber being captain of the Canadiens the sky is the limit for Montreal as long as they can remain healthy. Going forward Shea Weber should have the "C" on his jersey if Montreal wants to be a great NHL team for many years to come.
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