| Who will don the
Handicapping the next Sharks Captain
With Rob Blake more than likely to announce his
retirement on Friday, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan and GM Doug Wilson now
get to figure out will wear the Captains C next season. The player
who earns that honor will become the 8th regular captain in franchise history.
San Jose stripped Patrick Marleau of the position last summer, after the Sharks
were ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round. Blake was named
captain before last season, in order to instill more credibility and authority.
Now that Blake has decided to call it a career, the Sharks once again
find themselves in need of a leader. There are plenty of candidates, so
Ive decided to try and handicap them.
The Front Runners
Pros: The gritty defenseman leaves it all on
the ice just about every game, and hes been an outspoken sounding board
for the Sharks roster. Thats especially been the case when his teammates
fell flat. He wont pull any punches, and is respected in the locker room.
Cons: Theres little to like about Boyle filling the role. Boyle
isnt afraid to say whats on his mind, which could rub some players
the wrong way.
The centerman emerged as a gamer in the playoffs, especially in the first round
when the Sharks top line went AWOL. He became a leader, simply by setting an
example that forced even the superstars to step it up. He was often found in
the locker room after games to answer questions, especially after losses.
Cons: While a solid performer, hes not a big numbers guy.
Relatively unknown before his appearance on the US Olympic team, Pavelski still
has to establish a name for himself, especially among the leagues
Thornton is the Sharks marquee player and has enough cache in the league to
make him an obvious candidate. The big centerman is a perennial points leader
and his seniority make him a good intermediary with on-ice officials.
Cons: Thornton is typically absent when things arent going well for the
Sharks. Unlike Boyle, you wont see the centerman responding to the media
after tough losses. It would also be hard to bestow the responsibility on a guy
that takes shifts off every so often.
Pros: The 2nd year Sharks is another marquee player that
has the cache to don a letter, and Heatley doesnt seem to be averse to
the idea. His numbers are certainly big enough to earn the respect of his
teammates and officials, but more importantly the responsibility could help
Heatley move past some of the skeletons that continue to dog his past.
Cons: The winger only has a year in teal under his belt, so he still has to
establish himself in the locker room. After requesting trades from his last two
teams, there are still questions about commitment.
Pros: Hes familiar with the role
and he was the Sharks best player in the Conference Finals. His tenure speaks
Cons: For starters, hes an unrestricted free-agent
on July 1st, so hes not even under contract for the 2010-11 season. He
also had the C stripped after a 6-year stint as captain and may not
even want the job back.
Pros: Anyone that takes a pay cut to come play for your team is an
automatic candidate. Malhotra is also an energy-guy that would be a great
example setter for the younger players.
Cons: Malhotra took a pay-cut
last season, but his contributions will most likely command a decent raise.
Given that San Jose needs to sign figure out if they want Marleau and Evgeni
Nabokov back, salary cap issues could make Malhotra expendable.
The Dark Horses
Pros: The feisty centerman was a spark plug for the Sharks last season. The
9-year veteran is also a fan-favorite for this all out style of play. If
leading by example is the Sharks most important criteria, Nichol is a great
Cons: The fourth-liner doesnt get a lot of ice time, and
his 34-year old frame is likely to see that decrease should the Sharks re-sign
him. Like Marleau, Nichol is an unrestricted free-agent, although his sub-$1
million salary makes it easier for San Jose to re-sign him.
Pros: Hes the closest thing to Owen
Nolan currently on the Sharks roster, except hes never turned in
Nolans numbers. The prototypical power forward has the makings of a
leader, because hes a no-nonsense kind of player.
just hasnt played consistently enough in his career to warrant serious
consideration. He can also lose his cool when the opposition gets under his
skin, which doesnt meld with the calm demeanor that a Wilson or McLellan
is probably looking for.
All the Rest
Evgeni Nabokov: I dont think the Sharks bring back the moody
netminder back, and goaltenders dont make good captains.
Devin Setoguchi: Needs to build on his first round performance and must
establish a consistent game before anyone takes him seriously.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: Could be the captain of the future.
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums