Earlier this year, the Montreal Canadiens announced that they would have a new captain at the start of the 2022-2023 season.
The team, which has had a total of 30 captains in its history, has seen three separate players don the “C” in the last decade alone. None of them have worn the letter for more than four seasons.
Sine being hired General Manager Kent Hughes and Vice President of Hockey Operations Jeff Gorton have made major changes. As a result, most of the leaders and key players from the roster that made a miracle run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final are gone.
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Despite being in somewhat of a rebuild, the Habs still have three viable candidates who can step up and lead the team into a new era.
Here’s what each of them can bring to the table.
#1. Nick Suzuki
Since being acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018 in exchange for former team captain Max Pacioretty, Nick Suzuki has grown into a top-line centre. His smooth hands, poise, and impressive skillset have made him the poster boy for the Canadiens’ future.
And, boy, does the future look bright.
Suzuki will be 23 by the time the season starts, which might be a little young for the “C,” but he has shown signs of advanced maturity in both his play and demeanor. Plus the Canadiens are looking to the future, and a fresh face (and all-star) might be just what they need.
#2. Brendan Gallagher
After spending more than a decade in the organization, and giving his blood, sweat, and tears every night, there is a strong case — despite what some referees may think — for giving the captaincy to longtime-assistant Brendan Gallagher.
No one can deny that he is one of the hardest working players on the team — and in the league for that matter. Gally is simply all heart.
With that said, he is not the top-six forward he used to be and has suffered multiple injuries over the past few seasons. As a result, there is a chance that Hughes decides to shed his yearly salary of $6.5 million.
But if Montreal decides to keep their longest serving forward around, he would undoubtedly be deserving of the “C”.
He is still a sparkplug and, most importantly, a leader.
#3. Joel Edmundson
With the recent departure of Jeff Petry and former captain Shea Weber, the Canadiens are lacking leadership on the blue line. Joel Edmundson will certainly be asked to step up.
The 29-year-old is both a Stanley Cup champion and a dependable defenceman. Edmundson has also shown fans and teammates that he can step up off the ice as well.
At the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, when the Bell Centre got rid of “Fix You,” their long-standing player intro song, the 28-year-old went straight to the Canadiens’ Senior Vice President and asked that it be brought back. his request was approved almost immediately.
Don’t be too surprised if he is named captain, even if it’s just for a season or two.
They call him “steady Eddy” for a reason.