As the 2017-18 season rolls in, there are plenty of NHL teams who currently lack that officially-appointed leadership roll. Let’s take a look at the teams who have a captaincy roll to fill and what their options are heading into October.
After the departure and retirement of Shane Doan, it seems Oliver Ekman-Larsson is likely to be named the Coyotes next captain. Though it was reported in June that the job would be Ekman-Larsson’s, head coach Rick Tocchet stated there is no timetable to name the teams next captain.
The Hurricanes have not had a captain since Eric Staal was traded in February of 2016 but do plan to name one before the start of the season. Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, and Justin Faulk served as alternate captains last season and all appear to be potential candidates. Another possibility would be free agent acquisition Justin Williams, who helped Carolina win the Stanley Cup in 2006.
After Mike Fisher announced his retirement, the Predators are another team who find themselves without a captain. While the team says they are in no rush to make a decision, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, both of which served as alternate captains last season, appear to be favorites. PK Subban may also be a possible option.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights
It appears the newest NHL team will likely start their inaugural season without a captain. According to NHL.com, general manager George McPhee said the team “may be better off just having a leadership group than naming one guy captain.”
If the team does decide to name a captain, James Neal, who served as an alternate captain with the Nashville Predators, appears to be a favorite. Another potential option could be Deryk Engelland. The veteran defenseman is a resident of Las Vegas and wore an “A” for the Calgary Flames in 2017 during Troy Brouwer’s absence.
Similar to the other teams with captain vacancies, the Sabres are also in no hurry to name a captain and there’s a chance that they too could end up playing this season without one. If Buffalo does decide to name a captain, Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly would be likely be front-runners.