At the start of his sixth season with the New Jersey Devils, Bryce Salvador was tapped by head coach Pete DeBoer to serve as the tenth captain in the team’s history.
After missing all of the 2010-11 season with a cochlear, or inner ear concussion, Salvador came on strong last year and was a key to the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The steady blue liner was rewarded by general manager Lou Lamoriello for his hard work this summer when the unrestricted free agent signed a three year deal for $9.5 million.
Patrick Elais and Ilya Kovalchuk will remain as alternate captains.
In an interview with Tom Gulitti, Elais said the team was pleased with the choice. “He’s been around the league a long time,” Elais explained. “He’s a well respected guy in this locker room. Everybody likes him and he always gives 100 percent on the ice and his approach to the game, all the guys can take a lot from him.”
Elais also quipped to Star Ledger reporter Rich Chere that he was glad that DeBoer didn’t strip him of his “A.” Elais was the captain when Brent Sutter came in as coach during the 2007 season. Sutter replaced him with then forward Jamie Langenbruner.
After Langenbruner’s departure to the Dallas Stars during the 2010-11 season, the Devils coach at the time Jacques Lemaire chose not to name another player to that role.
Former Devil Zach Parise was given the honor by DeBoer near the end of training camp last year.
Salvador will bring a sense of maturity and lack of controversy which will be a nice change from the previous two captains.
Langenbruner may have been Captain America for the 2010 US Olympic Team, but he was often Captain Pout for the Devils, picking and choosing when he wanted to address the media.
Much of Parise’s short tenure as captain was spent ducking and dodging questions regarding his impending unrestricted free agency and addressing comments made by his father, former NHL journey man JP Parise, about where he might end up playing this season.
It’s always easy to answer questions when the team and the player are doing well. The mark of strong leadership comes from the man who patiently and intelligently responds to the media in the face of adversity. When you wear the “C” on your jersey, you need to be the team’s spokesman regardless of the score, the place in the standings or whether or not a relative gave an uncomfortable interview.
That is why Bryce Salvador is a smart choice. He is an experienced veteran with a strong work ethic who leads by example and is respected in the locker room by his peers, coaches, management and the fans as well.