Who Will Be the Next Steve Yzerman?: Five NHL Players Who've Got a Shot

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Who Will Be the Next Steve Yzerman?: Five NHL Players Who've Got a Shot

Wanted: NHL Center/Captain/Icon

Minimum Qualifications: Must be an excellent offensive player, must lead by example and sacrifice for the good of the team, must be able to commit entire playing career to one organization, must be able to change playing style in order to suit the needs of the team.

And must be able to lead team to multiple Stanley Cup championships.

Preferred Qualifications: a strong defensive game, fierce competitive streak, ability to make actions speak louder than words, willingness to put entire team on shoulders for extended periods of time.

There's not a team in the league that wouldn't want someone in their organization to fill this position.

While getting the next Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux is something most teams and fanbases crave, getting the next Steve Yzerman is, in some ways, an even harder task.

To find a player with not only the talent, but also the intangible assets of leadership, desire and competitiveness who's willing to dedicate his entire playing career to one organization is something exceedingly rare in all of professional sports.

When head coach Jaques Demers made a 22-year-old Yzerman team captain of the Red Wings in 1986, he said he did so because he was looking for a guy with "the Red Wings crest tattooed on his chest."

While Stevie Y never actually got inked up, what Demers and the Red Wings got was exactly that.

With the draft recently concluded and free agency set to explode into full swing, teams across the NHL are hoping that this year they find the one player that can come in and bring their team to the next level.

They're looking for Gretzkys and Lemieuxs for sure, but may have already convinced themselves that nabbing an Yzerman is just too tall an order.

However, there are some players already in the league who've got a legitimate shot at mirroring Yzerman's career.

Like Yzerman, these players are centers, offensively brilliant, and if not team captains already, are certainly in line to get a "C" stitched onto their jersey.

A few of these guys already have a jump on matching Yzerman's three Stanley Cup championships, and one already has the Conn Smythe requirement fulfilled.

As Steve Yzerman is the longest serving captain in NHL history (20 years), finding the next Stevie Y is no trivial task.

Here's five guys who might be "the next Y."

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