The reports are that Nicklas Lidstrom will be announcing his retirement. As there are many great questions regarding what the team will do in free agency in an attempt to fill the giant hole on the team, a bigger question is, who will be the team captain now?
The Detroit Red Wings have been a team of consistency. Since 1986, the Wings have only had two captains: Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom.
Now, with Lidstrom retiring, the honor of wearing the C will be passed on to a new player.
Here is a list of six possible candidates.
Datsyuk is considered to be one of the best players in the league. His magical moves with the puck are amazing.
While not always the most talkative, Datsyuk has improved as he has gotten older. His play on the ice and longetivity with the team mean that he will be a front-runner for the position.
While Parise's fondness for the Red Wings is well-known, it is not a done deal that he will end up in Detroit. In fact, his current team—the New Jersey Devils—have made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals. That will make it even harder to pry Parise away, especially if they end up winning.
However, he is already the captain of the Devils, so adding that role may help him make the jump to the Red Wings during the offseason.
If Lidstrom does retire, then the need to keep Stuart will be even greater. It has been assumed that he would leave this summer in free agency in order to head back out west to be with his family. His family is unable to move out of California, which means he has spent most of the past four years separated from them.
Without Lidstrom, the Red Wings do not also need to lose Stuart as well. Perhaps offering him the captain role would persuade him stay. It is a long shot, but the team will be very aggressive in trying to steady their defense.
If Lidstrom and Stuart both leave, then the level of desperation cannot be understated for Detroit.
The Red Wings will need to sign a top-level defender. While this means that they may need to overpay, they also may need to dangle the captain title as well.
Who should be the next captain for the Red Wings?
Suter already serves as the alternate captain for Nashville. The bump in title, to go along with a nice raise, may be able to help the Red Wings land him.
Kronwall is the heir apparent leader on defense. Over the past two seasons, he has taken on a bigger role. Last season, he led the team during the playoffs in ice time, a stat that Lidstrom had been the leader in for many years.
In 2011, Kronwall signed a seven-year deal with Detroit, which means he will be here for several more years. He also has already been serving as one of the team's alternate captains.
Zetterberg has to be the favorite to earn the C. Unless the team has to use the title in order to lure a superstar player to Detroit, then it should be his.
Zetterberg has been a leader on the ice and a vocal presence off of it. Rest assured that, if Red Wings do need to give the title to an incoming free agent, the team will pass it by Zetterberg first.
PJ Sapienza is a featured columnist covering the Detroit Red Wings as well as many other sports.
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