After seeing the team trade Mark Streit about two months ago, the New York Islanders are still looking into who they will name team captains for the upcoming season. Most NHL teams have a captain and two alternate captains on their clubs. It has happened, in past years, where the Islanders don’t have one specific player appointed captain. Instead what they will do is have a number of Alternate Captains. The method does work, and it has had results. It all just depends on if Jack Capuano and his staff want to go in that direction. With this hockey team I can see them going both ways with naming captains for this year.
Here’s the way I see things going if they do name a captain. I have already made a push that John Tavares should be named the captain. That’s just the way I feel. It’s almost too easy. Tavares would be the obvious choice to be the next leader of this team. Now there are a few guys I could see being named his alternates. Normally on a hockey team, there are two set alternates to go along with the captain. The Islanders have rotated alternates on the team during the season, and I could see that happening again. There’s four to five guys on the team right now who would be a good fit as the leaders of this team, behind Tavares.
On the blueline, there’s two players who could prove to be leaders from the back end in Travis Hamonic and Lubomir Visnovsky. With Visnovsky, he’s only been around the team for a year, so it may be an issue with him being a leader. Don’t get me wrong; he has plenty of leader experience and played a lot of quality hockey in the league. The only small problem I could see with Visnovsky being named a alternate is he hasn’t been with the team long enough. A trust issue would come up. Now Hamonic would be a great fit as an alternate. He’s one of the more vocal guys on that Islanders defense corps. He can be counted on to play the big minutes and will be playing for a long time here on Long Island. Hamonic is the perfect fit, at least among the defensemen, to be given a letter this season.
As far as the forwards go, there are three I feel are deserving of getting letters, besides Tavares. First we have Frans Nielsen. It has happened during his career that Nielsen has worn an A on his Islanders sweater. He’s one of those quiet leaders who won’t complain about anything and just go about doing his job and doing it very well. Then we have two guys who I feel could be switching between getting the letter, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo. Okposo already has an A on his sweater, and it seems a natural fit to keep it there. He has the potential to be a great leader in the NHL, but he hasn’t really realized that full potential just yet. By being given more of a chance to shine, Okposo can prove that he does indeed deserve to wear that A. As for Moulson, he has really started to take on more of a leadership role with this team. Many of the younger players do look up to him for guidance on how to play in the big leagues, and he hasn’t disappointed yet. Much like Okposo, Moulson has the qualities of a leader in him, they just haven’t been fully tapped into yet. They will before the year is over.
What the Islanders eventually do regarding the team captains is really up to them. Naming these guys as team leaders just seems, to me at least, to make the most sense.
What do you think?