We’re just a few days into life without Vincent Lecavalier, as the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out his contract Thursday morning. And already the questions are flying regarding who might be named captain next season.
Whoever receives that position will certainly have big shoes to fill. Lecavalier served as captain of the Lightning since 2008, meaning inheriting the “C” won’t be any easy task.
There are a couple of candidates for Tampa Bay, however. The most logical of which would be Steven Stamkos. He’s the biggest offensive name on this team and their future. Plus, at the young age of 23, he has a good chance of being signed long-term, assuming his production doesn’t take a nosedive due to injury or anything else.
Martin St. Louis is also someone to consider. Though older and possibly nearing retirement, he has the same championship experience Vinny had. Both were part of the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team. His numbers and durability are tops as well, evidenced by the fact he played 499 consecutive games before being sidelined with an injury and became the oldest player to capture the Art Ross trophy in 2013.
In the end, the Lightning wish this could have been avoided. But the reduced salary cap forced many teams to make difficult decisions in an attempt to stay competitive. Weird as it will be seeing Lecavalier wear another jersey, it’d be even more odd if Stamkos or St. Louis doesn’t become captain.
Personally, I believe Stamkos will get a chance to show what he’s learned over the years. We’ll see though.