Last Tuesday I was enjoying the Thrashers opening preseason game with a small group of friends down in section 102. About halfway through the second period one of them, a good friend of mine name of Carl, leaned forward from his seat just behind me and asked, “So who do you think will be the Thrashers captain this year”?
Before I put any cerebral activity to his enquiry, “Ron Hainsey” spilled out of my mouth. He then looked at me as if I had three horns growing out of my head.
And I assure you… I only have two.
When asked why in the world I would think such a thing, I shrugged and replied that maybe it was because he seemed to have step up following the Kovalchuk trade last winter. He appeared to assume more of a leadership role in the absence of any real “captain”, both in practice and in games.
Also, I take into account Hainsey’s contract situation. He will be entering the third season with the team and he’s signed through the 2012-13 season. Since he’s slated to be around for a while, I thought it might be nice to have a captain for more than just a year or so.
But truth be told, I’m not totally sold on the thought of having Ron Hainsey wear the “C”. Clearly I’m not opposed to it, but I can’t honestly say that I think he…or anyone else for that matter…is a clear-cut, obvious, slam-dunk choice for the role.
But if not Hainsey, then who?
My friend’s first counter to my suggestion was that he wouldn’t mind seeing Rich Peverley as captain. He’s as hard working a player as we have on the team and last fall he even agreed to re-up for at least two more seasons.
About the only thing I could say against such a proposal is that the few times I have spoken to Peverley he seems to be very soft-spoken…not the type who would seek undo attention or spotlight. I don’t mean that in any negative manner mind you, but he didn’t strike me as the kind who would be among the first to get in someone’s face or call a player out in the locker room.
But again, that’s just a personal observation and if he were to assume the role, I would have no issue whatsoever with that.
Andrew Ladd was another name that got tossed into the mix. The former Blackhawks certainly brings to the table a great deal of “been there, done that, got my name on the Cup twice to show for it” type of experience. He’ll turn 25-years of age in December but already has six NHL campaigns under his belt.
As I nodded my head in approval of Ladd possibly taking on the captaincy, I also pointed out that he’s only under contract for one season, becoming an RFA again next summer.
“Yes”, my buddy replied, “But maybe we make him captain, tell him he’s the guy to help build this team around and use that as a way to possibly get him to sign a longer deal”.
Uh-huh…but I think we’ve seen that movie before here in Thrasherville and I don’t think the ending turned out very well. Coach Ramsay even addressed this issue Thursday night by saying he’s seen it tried and “failed miserably” in many places before.
Regardless, I’d certainly give Ladd consideration…if not for the “C”, then at least an “A”.
Another I think will be given consideration is Nik Antropov, who will be entering into his second season of a four-year contract. The 67-point showing last season was a career high and exceeded his previous best by 11 points. This can be attributed to dishing out 43 assists, 16 of which came before he scored his first goal a month and a half into the season.
Nik was brought in thanks in great part to the lobbying of the Thrashers most recent captain, but when Ilya Kovalchuk was dealt to the Devils Antropov certainly didn’t sulk about it. Instead he stepped his game up even more finishing with 11 goals and 14 assists before having t sit out the last two games of the year.
Who should be the Thrashers team captain?
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His +13 last season and +66 for his career also shows his willingness to play responsibly on the defensive side of the ice. That’s something you definitely want to see from the man wearing the “C”.
Evander Kane…Zach Bogosian? Well, yeah and yeah. I certainly think the two have it in them to become captain at some point in their career, especially Kane. But I have an issue with “appointing” a player as team captain simply because of their potential. This is a something that should be earned based upon experience and respect, and the two young stars have but three total NHL campaigns between them.
Regardless of who ultimately gets to wear the “C” in Thrasherville this season, we may have to still wait a while to find out who that player is. I’ve heard Ramsay say he may opt to roll some “A”s out there and then make a decision. That’s was done here two years ago as you may recall, but back then it was all but a given that it was Kovalchuk who was going to get it. We then scratched our collective heads as to why it took half a season to do so.
But this time around is a bit different, I believe. The player who will be named Thrashers team captain will be the one who will have earned that honor…not just a star player who the franchise is attempting to bribe in order to lock him up long-term.