Who Could Step In to Fill the Void?
Throughout their 112-year history, the storied Montreal Canadiens franchise has had 30 captains lead them into the on-ice war known as NHL hockey. At the current moment, Shea Weber holds the captaincy, but with growing concern surrounding his injury status, it seems more and more likely that he will not be returning to the Montreal Canadiens, let alone NHL play.
With Shea Weber’s impending retirement on the horizon a burning question rests among Habs fans; who is going to be the next captain? I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about this as well. Personally, I don’t really “buy in” to the whole “one captain” thing that goes on in all professional sports teams. In my opinion, everyone should have their own role and play as if they are all the captain of the team.
Aside from my personal beliefs, I understand why it is important to have a leader, as every team needs one, and asked myself who could be best suited to occupy the new captaincy for the Montreal Canadiens. With that in mind, this article will focus on the top-four candidates who deserve to be named the new leader of the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
It took two full seasons for Jeff Petry to get acclimated to life in a Montreal Canadiens uniform, but the payoff for the wait has been nothing short of sweet. In his six full seasons as a member of the Montreal Canadiens Petry has registered four seasons of double-digit goal totals, as well as four seasons of 40+ points.
Aside from his offensive prowess, Petry is also strong on the defensive side as well. His stick-work, as well as the way he uses his body, are always a treat to watch as a Montreal Canadiens fan. Ever since arriving from Edmonton in 2014-15 he has been, hands down, the most consistent the Canadiens have had in their lineup.
Due to these reasons, as well as his stoic personality (as well as playing through the playoffs with two popped eye vessels), I believe Petry deserves a vote of contention for the Canadiens captaincy. The man has everything; point production, defensive awareness, consistency, and a stoic personality. I wouldn’t be mad if the Canadiens picked him as their 31st captain.
Would the Canadiens dare take a page out of the playbooks of the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and Pittsburgh Penguins, who all named captains who were under the age of 23 years old? Who knows, but since we’re talking about this, why not bring up Suzuki’s name. The young center out of London, Ontario is the Canadiens’ future at center and has proven he has all the makings to become a superstar in this league.
In 127 games over his first two seasons in a Canadiens uniform, Suzuki has put up identical 41 point seasons, good for 82 points in his career. What’s exciting about Suzuki is his growing shot percentage, which is right now at 11.3%, as well as his Faceoff percentage.
If Suzuki continues to grow, there’s no telling what his ceiling will be. Maybe the Canadiens decide that they would like to up the future of the franchise, as well as the captaincy, into the hands of the 22-year-old and see where it goes. With what Suzuki has shown us so far in his career, there’s only one way he’s going, and that’s upwards!
The most obvious choice for the next Canadiens captaincy, Gallagher bleeds Bleu-Blanc-Rouge and is the sheer epitome of a Montreal Canadiens hockey player. Grit, tenacity, sheer willingness to win, and self-sacrifice are all descriptors I would use to really drive home what Brendan Gallagher brings to this hockey club.
It’s not just his leadership and intensity that would make him a great Canadiens captain, it’s also his ability to get onto the stat-sheet. Gallagher is no slouch when it comes to point production, as he has amassed 357 points in 582 games as a Montreal Canadien, as well as +68 Plus/Minus ratio and a double-digit Shooting Percentage (10.1%).
Plain and simply, I think I speak for all Canadiens fans when I say that Gallagher deserves to be the next captain by a mile. He encapsulated everything it means to don the colors of the 112-year-old hockey club known as the “Habitants”. In my mind, if I was Marc Bergevin, this captaincy pick would be clear as day, and none other than the native of British Columbia would get the nod.
Carey Price (if allowed)
I know, I know; this can never happen. If it did, however, I would have no problems with Canadiens management deciding that the #5 overall pick from 2005, the goalie who has given his all to the club, the one who has captured everything from a Hart Trophy to a Vezina Trophy and an Olympic Gold Medal, would be named captain.
Of course, the NHL has a rule that bans goalies from being on-ice captains, as the NHL says it would cause too many complications when rules have to be discussed with the referees after a call. The last goaltender to serve as a captain was none other than Roberto Luongo. Although “Bobby Lu” wasn’t allowed to don a crested “C” on his jersey, he was still allowed to have one painted onto his helmet. In my opinion, goalies should be allowed to be captains, and I do think more teams would name goalies as their captains if given the opportunity.
I personally would love to see Carey Price as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. When it comes to the fans, I believe their hearts would warm knowing they have one of the greatest goalies in the world back-stopping their team with a “C’ night-in and night-out. Hey, Gary Bettman, how about changing the captain rule? It’s just a suggestion!
And there we have it, the top four candidates I believe would make great Montreal Canadiens captains. Who do you think would make a great captain? Do you have a pick of your own? Let me know in the comments below!