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Ducks Future Captain?
By Eddie Richard
The “Mighty Ducks” recently named Jace Cole as the third captain in the fictional word of the Mighty Ducks cinematic universe. He will be succeeded by Evan Morrow and the great Charlie Conway. I apologize for the spoiler alert of the TV show but in all seriousness, let us discuss our NHL team now.
The Anaheim Ducks are dead last as of today (11/17) and are last in nearly all statistical categories. The Ducks have digressed from the improvements that made last season. Their “swag” from last season is stuck in the past. There is one thing that might be playing a significant role in the Ducks drowning season. That missing piece, which is captain Ryan Getzlaf. He has been the team’s captain since 2010-11 season and has been one of the better captains in the league. The Ducks are one of six teams (Coyotes, Flames, Flyers, Kraken and Jets) to remain without a captain.
I never understood this logic and why teams choise to go into a season without a captain. I understand the importance of that “C” and everything it represents but it seems to be more harmful to a team not to have someone leading the way. Like the phrase, “too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” feels like it can have detrimental effects on a hockey club. I am not a fan of having three alternates or what other teams are doing by naming different alternates for home and away games. The Ducks have 99 problems but being without a captain should not be one. I am going to talk about a few players who can step into that role and give my opinion on who I would name as captain at the end…. (And do not cheat and skip to the end. Please read the whole article first. )
First and foremost, there is not anyone that will ever replace Getzlaf or fill his shoes in that role. He will go down as not only one of the greatest Ducks players in franchise history but also being one of the best captains in franchise history. I am going to discuss five candidates to potentially wear the “C” for the season. Those players being the following: Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Strome, Cam Fowler, Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry.
He has played in 782 games in a span of 13 seasons with the New Jersey Devils (455) and the Ducks (327). He served as an alternate captain for the Devils from 2015-16 season until he was traded to the Ducks in the 2017-18 season. He has been with the Ducks for six seasons now and has served as an alternate captain since last season. Henrique played under former Devils’ captains Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise, Bryce Salvador, and Andy Greene. Not to mention Getzlaf too. Henrique has one more year left on his deal after this season. The 32-year-old is a seasoned vet and can bring his experience as well as leadership traits from the past captains. He has been though the old-school and new-school transitions of the game and has adapted well. I feel he is well respected and can lead this team to improvements and getting though the rebuild.
He has played in 672 games in a span of 11 seasons with the Ottawa Senators (48) and the Ducks (624). He has spent 10 seasons with the Ducks and has served at the team’s alternate captain since the 2019-20 season. In his short tenure with the Senators, Silfverberg played under the leadership of Daniel Alfredsson. Like Henrique, Silfverberg has one more year last after this season. The 32-year-old has been with the Ducks though the good times and, as of the recent few seasons, the bad times. He has adapted to coaching changes and the heart breaks of being eliminated from the playoffs. Injuries have slowed him down the past few seasons, but he still has a lot of hockey and experience left in the tank. He is being under utilized and seems to have been banished to the fourth line. I do not think he will be part of this team’s future unless there is a coaching change, and he can get more of an opportunity. I see a trade coming soon or a possible buy-out. I think a change of scenery will be able to milk the last years of hockey left and a team would be lucky to get that.
He has played in 636 games in a span of ten seasons with the New York Islanders (258), Edmonton Oilers (100), New York Rangers (263) and the Ducks (15). This is his first year of a five-year deal with the Ducks. He played under the leadership of Jonathan Tavares (NYI) and Connor McDavid (EDM). During his time with the Rangers, there was not a captain named. Strome did serve as an alternate captain for the Rangers last season. The 29-year-old veteran brings new blood to the team and his experiences from multiple hockey clubs. He had been through the ups and downs and knows very well how to adapt to change. A fresh outlook and someone who has been in the post-season recently is something that can pay dividends to lead this team back to its winning ways. He wanted to be here and be part of the rebuild, so he has a fresh motivation to get this team back on track. Strome has instantly fit in with the team’s system and seems well respected in the locker room.
He was drafted by the Ducks in 10th overall in the 2010, draft by the Ducks. He has played 826 games in 13 seasons. He played under the leadership of Scott Niedermayer and Getzlaf. Fowler has served as an alternate captain since the 2020-21 season. Fowler got an opportunity to play as a rookie due to the Ducks injury problems and he has never looked back. He had career highs in assists (33) and points (42) last season. He is having a tough time this season only having one assists in 15 games. The 30-year-old has the longest tenure among Ducks players. He lived and learned from Niedermayer, who was one of the greatest defensive players and captains in NHL history. Fowler has the determination and motivation to want to help the Ducks get back into the post-season. He seems like he will be a lifelong Duck and wants to be. His experience coupled with the traits he has gotten from the previous captains makes him a prime candidate to lead the Ducks into the future.
He has played in 114 games in the span of three seasons with the Ducks since being drafted in 2019. He broke out last season with 61 points and making some electric highlight reel goals and assists. He has solidified himself as the face of the Ducks franchise and has made the Ducks relevant among the NHL. “Dude” is always talking and striving to get better and better. He is the franchise player and will eventually be named captain of the Ducks in the future. So why wait, right? We have seen teams name their young future superstar players in a leadership role; for example, Nick Suzuki being named captain of the Montreal Canadiens and he has filled that roll well. I feel it might be a little too soon for him. I want him to focus on his game and develop into that franchise type of player. His time will come, but it should not be now.
He has played in 219 games in the span of six seasons with the Ducks. He completely exploded last season and has not looked back. He is continuing where he left off and is leading the Ducks in scoring. He is establishing himself as a superstar for the Ducks. He played under the leadership of Getzlaf since his first NHL game. In a Tweet by Matt Weller, he mentioned how head coach Dallas Eakins has acknowledged how Terry is stepping up and becoming a leader. Terry has a high work ethic and seems to have more of a lead by example approach and adding more vocalization makes a prime target to become the Ducks next captain.
My vote for the next Ducks captain should be Henrique. I do not care about the term he has left or if he will re-sign with the Ducks. I am focusing on what leadership abilities he came bring to the team right now. He has experienced a lot of leadership personalities that he has learned from and can mold those into his own leadership style. He can help turn this season around and get back on the right re-building track. This also lets Zegras and Terry marinate a little more and develop their games before taking on the responsibility of being the captain. I think he will have a great perspective on how he wants to lead this team. I would keep Fowler as an alternate and name Strome as the secondary alternate. Respond with your thoughts on the Ducks future captain.
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November 17th, 2022