Following the retirement of Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks have decided to go without a captain for the 2018-19 season.
Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Alex Edler, and Chris Tanev will serve as alternate captains instead.
“Alex Edler, Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter and Chris Tanev form our leadership group as alternate captains, supported by a wider group of veteran players,” said head coach Travis Green. “Our team culture will be built from leadership by committee. It will be a big part of our process and our identity each and every game.”
GM Jim Benning hinted at this decision in the summer. While Horvat is the clear frontrunner to take over as captain eventually, the team is worried about piling extra pressure on the 23-year-old’s shoulders.
“Bo’s a leader of our young players already in that group, but we have other good leadership on the team and we want him to continue to work on his development as a player and do all the things that he’s capable of,” Benning said in August.
The Canucks last did something like this in 1990, when Trevor Linden, Dan Quinn, and Doug Lidster alternated wearing the C. Linden was the heir apparent then, but was just 20-years-old. He was named captain the following season.
Most observers expect Horvat to follow a similar path.
Horvat, who is entering his fifth NHL season, has shown every sign that he’s ready to take over as captain, but you can understand the Canucks’ logic in this decision. It’s difficult being the captain of a losing team, answering tough questions every night. If the Canucks lose as many games as most expect this season, that could weigh heavily on Horvat – a player that’s still developing in his NHL career.
Canucks team captain history:
- Orland Kurtenbach, 1970–1974
- Andre Boudrias, 1975–1976
- Chris Oddleifson, 1976–1977
- Don Lever, 1977–1979
- Kevin McCarthy, 1979–1982
- Stan Smyl, 1982–1990
- Dan Quinn, Doug Lidster, and Trevor Linden, 1990–1991 (tri-captains)
- Trevor Linden, 1991–1997
- Mark Messier, 1997–2000
- Markus Naslund, 2000–2008
- Roberto Luongo, 2008–2010
- Henrik Sedin, 2010–2018