With the NHL players getting ready to lace up the skates to practice for the upcoming season, the New York Islanders should place some thought into who they should choose to be their alternate captains behind Mark Streit.
On a team chock full of youth, the Islanders will need leaders, whether they be young or old, to rise and take the leadership responsibilities.
Might as well start with the obvious.
John Tavares will all but definitely be wearing one of the "A's." I'll be honest, I believe Tavares should be the team's captain. But, it looks like Mark Streit will be holding on to the role.
Tavares is the future captain of the Islanders and is pretty much the face of the franchise. It's his team now.
It'll be no question Tavares will be an alternate because he was one last season and he'll continue to lead vocally and by example.
Tavares will be a huge help to lead the young players on and off the ice.
Kyle Okposo is another no-brainer to be an alternate. He's worn an "A" for the last couple of seasons.
Okposo will be looking for a breakout season and has been a vocal leader on the team since he came up.
Kyle will be a leader on the Isles for years to come.
Matt Moulson is a slight dark horse, but only because he hasn't worn an "A" yet. But he's definitely a prime candidate.
He's a leader on and off the ice, lets his play do the talking and is a fan favorite. He's been with the team for a few years.
The young prospects and rookies can learn a lot from Moulson and his harsh path to the NHL. They'd have to admire him.
He says all the right things to the media—winning a team award for doing so, even.
He never takes bad penalties and was even a Lady Byng nominee.
Moulson is a sure team leader and the Isles would benefit if he were to be an alternate captain. Besides Tavares, if anyone deserves an "A," it's Matt.
Frans Nielsen is a very underrated two-way forward and probably one of the best defensive forwards in the league.
He'll score 15 goals and about 40 points, as well as help keep the puck out of the net. Lead by example on the ice? Check.
Nielsen will be entering his seventh season with the Islanders, so he is one of the longest tenured players on the island.
He can share valuable information to the younger prospects about how to play a great two-way game.
It shouldn't be a surprise to fans to possibly see Frans don an "A" on his chest.
Andrew MacDonald is ready to enter his fourth full season as an Islander. On the ice, he leads by example by consistently playing a very solid defensive game. He can also hop in on the offensive side of things.
Along with Mark Streit and possibly Lubomir Visnovsky, MacDonald will be one of the leaders on the blueline.
Young defenseman like Calvin de Haan, Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan would benefit from watching and talking to MacDonald.
Andrew has proven he can be a leader and the defensive corps would do well by having an alternate captain on defense.