With the surprising selection of Gabriel Landeskog for the Colorado Avalanche captaincy, beating out such worthy opponents like Duchene and O’Reilly not to mention long time veterans Stastny and Hejduk, it got the screws a-turning at The Predatorial about who should or could get the “A” left by Ryan Suter.
Having locked up the captain Shea Weber in a lifetime contract and the re-up of Mike Fisher has the other assistant captaincy secured, it’s time to roll out the top five candidates for the Nashville Predators next co-leader…
First and foremost should be the original Predator: David Legwand. Many fans will find this hard to swallow given Legwand’s penchant for lackadaisical play and scoring empty net goals, but to deny what this player has meant to this franchise since it’s inception is to deny what the true nature of what it is to be a Predator.
Legwand was second on the team in points for the regular season and as always showed up in the playoffs leading the Predators in goals and points. In the playoff run, he also was third in plus/minus and lead the team with 2 GWG. When Legwand is in the zone, there is an immeasurable difference to what his performance can do for the team. By having the assistant captaincy, it may help to keep Legwand’s drive and play at his top level to inspire the younger players and energize the veterans.
A close second would be Martin Erat. Erat is consistently one of the top performers for Nashville and for good reason. His speed and a tenacity for taking the big shot and setting up the talent around him makes him a natural leader on the ice.
Erat has lead the Predators in points for the last two seasons and is always a threat to break the 50 point mark, even with his unfortunate injury history. Erat seemed to quietly amass 58 points this season putting him ahead of such offensive heavyweight right-wingers like Alexander Semin and Bobby Ryan (all while playing less games).
Next for consideration should be Patric Hornqvist. The scrappy final pick of the 2005 entry draft has become the heir-apparent to the stand-in-front, garbage goal wingers like fellow country man Tomas Holmstrom. Hornqvist has led the Predators in two out of the last three years in goals scoring 30 two seasons ago.
Maybe if they put the “A” on Hornqvist, he might be able to talk with the refs about the shenanigans and goings-on that take place each time the play is stopped and he’s in front of the net doing his job. As Terry Crisp would say, “Patric has the cleanest face in the NHL.”
You can’t find much more a definition of a veteran leader without thinking of Hal Gill. Stanley Cup experience? Check. Enormous size and skill? Yep. The ability to banter well with teammates? Ya Betcha. Hal Gill is the prototype of what you need on defense on the back-end with solid play, a reach that rivals condors and he logs the tough minutes especially on the PK. It would also even out the team captains so they’re not all on the ice at the same time.
Lastly, another veteran leader with toughness to spare would be Paul Gaustad. The “Goose” was a stellar pick-up at the trade deadline and a brand new contract will keep him with the Predators for the next four years. He will already be relied upon heavily to teach the younger players the many ways of winning face-offs and killing penalties, but the extra sandpaper and a willingness to stick up for his teammates could win him solid points for the assistant captaincy. And who wouldn’t love to have three captains that could throw down with just about anybody in the league.
What say you Predator fans? Agree? Disagree? Who would you want to see with the “A” patch?
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