The Edmonton Oilers not only got rid of a key center in Shawn Horcoff when they dealt him earlier this summer, they also opened up a vacancy as far as their captaincy is concerned. Instantly, speculation began as to who would inherit the ‘C’ from the veteran forward.
There are a couple potential options for the Oilers here, one of which was just signed this summer. Taylor Hall could likely be looked at as the front runner, and has been mentioned as such by some in the Edmonton media, while Andrew Ference and Jordan Eberle are also contenders.
Hall took the next step towards superstardom with a strong 2013 campaign. He finally managed to stay healthy for a full season, playing in 45 games and posting over a point per game. He finished with 50 on the year, among the best in the league. He dazzled us with his play up front, proving a tough matchup for anyone to slow. And he was a solid presence in the locker room as well.
An obstacle to Hall taking the C from Horcoff is likely the presence of Andrew Ference, who signed as an unrestricted free agent. Ference was brought in for his steadiness on the blue line, but also his experience. He’s won championships, and appeared in several deep playoff runs. That’s valuable for a young team like Edmonton.
Don’t rule out Jordan Eberle completely, though. He wore an A last season and although he’s coming off a down year, is still a strong offensive weapon for this team.
Ultimately, it’ll likely come down to Hall or Ference for the vacancy. Given how long Hall is likely to be with the team, though, as his career is just getting underway, it’s likely he’ll get the captaincy as the face of the franchise, while Ference gets an A. And that’s probably the right move for the Oilers heading into what they hope is a turnaround year for the franchise.