Being an NHL captain is unquestionably one of the most prestigious honors in all of sports. It takes a man with a great passion for his team, a strong desire and ability to lead his teammates and an unparalleled dedication to the fans and the game of hockey itself. In many ways, it takes just as many skills off the ice as it does on it.
Many captains have gone on to become legends—names synonymous with the sport of hockey and names commonly known throughout the sporting world. Greats like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman and Bobby Orr all wore the "C" on their jersey for a large portion of their careers, and now sit in the ranks of the elite in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The past couple of years have seen the beginning of a new era in NHL captains. The past greats are retiring and this is clearing the way for a new group of leaders to step in and fill the shoes of very distinguished roles. These new leaders are young, fresh faces. Many aren't even over the age of 30.
However, in the salary-cap era of the NHL, these young players are being signed to long contracts and turned into the face of the franchise where they practice their trade. This trend continues today as some of the league's current captains are moving very quickly toward retirement (or they're just not cutting it as a leader) and this opens the door for new youthful leaders to emerge.
In this article I give you ten examples of young hotshots who we very likely could be seeing with the captain's "C" on their jersey within the next few years.