With John Tavares recently being named the Captain of the New York Islanders, that led to the question of who would be named the Alternates? One of the choices was an easy pick in returning alternate captain Kyle Okposo, but another one had to be named. So after some thought, head coach Jack Capuano made a decision and announced that defenseman Andrew MacDonald was going to be the other Alternate Captain. There were plenty of worthy candidates to get the honor, but ultimately it went to MacDonald.
Okposo is already an alternate captain after having the honor bestowed upon him a season ago. Of all the forwards on the team the only other person, besides Okposo, who would be deserving of the letter would be Matt Moulson. The reason, I think, the coaching staff chose to keep the A on Okposo is because he has more experience with this club. That’s no knock on Moulson by any means. Okposo has been with the team longer, and he knows the organization better. A lot of the younger guys look up to him more, and he has the leadership skills to carry the responsibilities, doing so with great class last year.
As for MacDonald getting the other A, this one surprised me a little. The reason I say this is because I had a feeling going into camp that Travis Hamonic was going to be the defenseman to get the letter. There were two reasons I felt this way. One is that I saw more leadership qualities coming from Hamonic than I did MacDonald, and the other is the contract extension. Hamonic is signed to a long-term deal and is making good money. MacDonald is making less per year than Hammer and is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. So unless General Manager Garth Snow can get MacDonald locked up to a long-term deal before next year, then this doesn’t make much sense.
Do I feel that MacDonald is deserving of being named Alternate Captain? Absolutely. MacDonald has a ton of talent, and his best year, scoring wise, came in 2010-11 when he scored 27 points. But it goes beyond scoring ability. Near the end of last year, MacDonald appeared to be more vocal on the blue line. He and Hamonic have been relied on by the coaching staff to shut down the opposing team’s best players.
There’s a lot of responsibility with being named alternate captain. MacDonald and Okposo both have the poise and maturity to take on the role and help out Tavares in leading this team this season.