NHL: Will Edmonton Oilers Continue Young Captain Trend?

Adam Bowen@truknorrisContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

Will the Oilers continue the trend of naming a young captain once Shawn Horcoff's time is up?
Will the Oilers continue the trend of naming a young captain once Shawn Horcoff's time is up?Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers fans still have three long years to endure the terrible contract handed out to Shawn Horcoff in 2009-10, meaning for the next three seasons No. 10 will continue to wear the "C" for the Oilers.

But what happens after?

Horcoff may re-sign with the Oilers but has already seen his role on the team diminish in recent years, and with so many young talented players on the team, it could be time to hand over the reigns to someone who will play a more prominent role in the team's future. 

The Colorado Avalanche recently made talented young forward Gabriel Landeskog the youngest captain in NHL history, thanks in large part to his ability on the ice and the experience the young Swede garnered as the first European captain for the Kitchener Rangers in the AHL.

If the trend is going to continue, who do the Oilers choose to be captain going forward?

While there really isn't an obvious choice to answer this question, Jordan Eberle seems to stand out as the leading candidate to assume the mantle of captain for the copper and blue.

After only two years in the league, the talented winger has demonstrated his superb vision on the ice, as demonstrated by his team-leading 76 points during the 2011-12 NHL season, as well as his impressive Lady Byng nomination last season with a total of eight penalty minutes for the entire season. 

after competing for Canada in the previous two IIHF World Championships, Eberle has the international experience as well to help give his voice some pull in the locker room. 

Not mention the electricity he brings on the ice already has fans enamoured with the 22-year-old. 


Taylor Hall plays the game of hockey much like Mark Messier did in his heyday and deserves to have his name included in the future captaincy debate. 

Hall brings a ruggedness to his fast-paced, electric style of game that has been missing on the Oilers for quite some time now.

He can score, he can hit and he can fight (though I doubt the Oilers want the youngster to fight after what happened last time). 

The only real question mark surrounding Hall is whether or not he can stay healthy. Though it's early in his career, the speedy Hall has already suffered a series of significant injuries, including a dreaded concussion

Young Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will also be a mainstay with the Oilers for many years to come and would warrant consideration when the time comes to select a new captain in Edmonton. 

Like Eberle, RNH featured at the latest IIHF World Championships, and though it took the cerebral centre a couple of games to find his way, he put up respectable numbers for an 18-year-old. 

It may take a couple years for RNH to find his voice in the locker-room, but he will have a significant impact on the roster and could very make for a strong captain candidate. 

It would be hard to see the team acquiring a player and naming him captain instead of promoting one of their homegrown talents. 

Times are changing and the young bucks of the NHL are starting to assume the responsibilities typically reserved for veterans. 

From Sidney Crosby to Jonathan Toews to Landeskog, the trend seems to be the naming the franchise superstar as the captain. But with the Oilers having so many options, it will be interesting to see who gets the honor.