With Nick Suzuki recently being named captain of the Montreal Canadiens and the youngest to don the captaincy in franchise history at just 23 years old, it leaves six franchises with a vacant captaincy across the NHL. Here are some players that could step into the role of NHL captains.
Filling the NHL Captains
Anaheim Ducks: Cam Fowler
With former longtime captain Ryan Getzlaf, retiring after last season, it leaves a massive hole for the Anaheim Ducks in the leadership department. Fowler is the longest-tenured Ducks player and would be a great choice for the captaincy. He is 30 years old and has four years remaining on his contract with the Ducks. His experience would help lead Anaheim and its young core into the next era.
Arizona Coyotes: Clayton Keller
The Yotes didn’t have a captain last season after trading away Oliver Ekman-Larsson last summer. There aren’t many big-name players on the Coyotes roster outside of Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller. Chychrun would be a great choice for the captaincy after sporting the Alternate captaincy last year. However, it seems like the Coyotes could be parting with their star defenseman soon. This leaves room for Keller to become the Arizona Coyotes‘ next captain. Keller is coming off a leg injury suffered last season but appears ready for training camp this fall.
Buffalo Sabres: Dylan Cozens
The young Buffalo Sabres team is finally headed in the right direction and 21-year-old Dylan Cozens is the perfect player to lead them into their next era. The “Workhorse from Whitehorse’s” character and work ethic make him a great leader on and off the ice. He captained team Canada’s world juniors squad back in 2020 after Kirby Dach went down with an injury and also captained the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL. The Sabres likely wouldn’t rush to give Cozens the captaincy this season. However, he is the obvious choice to be the future captain of the Buffalo Sabres.
Calgary Flames: Jonathan Huberdeau
The Calgary Flames lost two of the league’s biggest superstars this season, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, the latter of which many expected to be the Flames’ next captain. Thankfully for Calgary, they were able to acquire another franchise winger in the Tkachuk trade in Jonathan Huberdeau who they inked to an eight-year deal. Huberdeau is one of the league’s premier wingers and is no stranger to leadership either as he’s worn an “A” with the Florida Panthers for the past four seasons. Despite being the new guy in town, Huberdeau is a good choice to lead Calgary.
Philadelphia Flyers: Sean Couturier
When looking at the Philadelphia Flyers roster, Sean Couturier is the clear choice to fill the captaincy for this team. Couturier, 29, has been serving as the Flyers’ alternate captain for 3 seasons. Claude Giroux has been the team’s captain for the past decade but was shipped to Florida at the trade deadline and has since signed with the Sens for the next three seasons. However, the Flyers probably will wait to at least give new bench boss John Tortorella a chance before giving Couturier the captaincy.
Seattle Kraken: Matty Beniers
With their first captain in team history Mark Giordano just having been shipped to Toronto this past deadline, the Seattle Kraken aren’t in a rush to name a new captain. This opens the door for rookie Beniers to be named Kraken captain a few years down the road. Shane Wright could also be an option in a few years. He, along with Beniers, are expected to be the future faces of the Kraken. However, Wright’s suspected attitude issues make Beniers seem like the safer bet to wear the “C” in the future.
It’s an honor for any player to don the captaincy for an NHL franchise. These six players would all make great future captains for their respective clubs.