A lot of hype and hoopla has been made recently over the fact that Roberto Luongo has decided to give up the captaincy in Vancouver. The great debate in the Canuck world is now between Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
Meanwhile, in Montreal reports are surfacing that the team is set to name Brian Gionta as their new captain.
Lost in all this is the fact that another Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, is also without a captain. The dead weight that was Ethan Moreau was finally jettisoned in the offseason, leaving the Oilers leaderless.
So, who should take his place?
Well, at first glance it would be tempting to say Shawn Horcoff. He is the longest serving Oiler on the team and has never played for another club, and he is currently an alternate captain so he is already counted on to provide leadership. However, Horcoff's play has been abysmal the past two seasons and there are whispers of him being buried in the minors if he doesn't improve soon.
A captain doesn't have to be the best player on the team, but he certainly shouldn't be one of the worst.
Another candidate would be Jason Strudwick. He provides a veteran presence in the locker room and always competes on the ice. As a seventh defenceman though, he doesn't play in every game and a captain should definitely not be sitting in the press box.
Also, if it becomes clear that the Oilers are headed for another lottery pick, Strudwick, along with Jim Vandermeer, may find themselves headed to a contender at the deadline.
Ales Hemsky is clearly the teams most talented offensive player, but he is not very vocal off the ice and has yet to play a full season.
I'd almost be tempted to give it to Dustin Penner. He is the Oilers offensive leader and was the only player who competed hard every game last season. However, there have been rumours involving him going to LA (whether they are true or not is another story) and it is unclear if he will stick around in two years time.
Last season was Penner's first outstanding season as an Oiler after two years of lazy play. Should the captaincy be awarded after only one good season?
There are some who would try and make a case for Sam Gagner or Gilbert Brule or even, crazy as this sounds, Taylor Hall. They point to the success that Crosby and Toews have enjoyed as young captains, but Gagner is not Toews and Hall has yet to play a regular season game in the NHL.
So where does that leave the team?
Well, if I had to choose I would pick Penner, but nowhere in the rulebook does it say that a team has to have a captain. If the Oilers went captainless for a season, or even two, while they groomed Hall or Eberle to take over I would be perfectly okay with that.
Who do you think should be named captain?
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