The Canadiens next Captain: Who Will it Be?

Published August 10, 2022 at 3:57 PM

After the Montreal Canadiens run to the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021-22 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs; news of Shea Weber's uncertain future emerged.

Weber's style, and committment to his team are the exact qualities which have endeared to NHL coaches throughout his Hall-of-Fame worthy career. During the playoffs Weber logged big minutes - on both the powerplay and penalty, Webers presence was a threat when opposing forwards entered the zone, and Weber's shot-blocking prowess proved to be a invaluable part of the team's defensive success. Unfortunately at season end, when exit press conferences were taking place - Weber's health was the topic of conversation, and with good reason; Weber's list of injuries which he played through, were ultimately his demise.

Weber never won a Stanley Cup, and with his career winding down, his 40th birthday sooner rather than later and his injury history taken into account - The Canadiens captain left it all on the ice. The scenes after the Habs game five loss; which secured the Bolts their second-consecutive Stanley Cup championship, were tough to watch, you could sense the emotion. The players embraced each other, and the thoughts of Weber's time in the NHL evidently crept in.

Weber's injuries are the following, but not limited to;

Lingering knee, thumb and ankle injuries leave little doubt Weber's career - may very well be a thing of the past.

With the Shea Weber-captained Montreal Canadiens days behind us, surely the Habs are in discussions to name a new team captain. There are a great mix of veteran and youth options, should the Canadiens choose a younger player, or a seasoned veteran. Here are some potential candidates for the vacant captaincy in La Belle Provence:

Since coming over in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights along with left-wing Tomas Tatar and a 2019 second-round draft selection, in exchange for former Habs captain Max Pacioretty - Nick Suzuki has acclimated swimmingly. Suzuki has played in 209 games since being acquired by the Canadiens, posting 49 goals - 94 assists - 143 points. Suzuki has filled the top-centre role for the Canadiens well, since his junior playoff performances; Suzuki has developed immensely and his experience in the deep OHL playoff runs was a massive opportunity for him to partake in.

While Suzuki isn't a big, booming presence, nor is he someone who will dominate the conversations in the locker room, he does lead by example. Suzuki's IQ, skill and work ethic have helped him carve out and establish a significant role within the organization. Suzuki is a big-time player, who thrives on the big stage; showing during the Canadien's playoff run that no moment is too big, creating magic with linemate Cole Caufield, which provided fans with a glimpse of the Canadiens future duo at work.

If not Suzuki, perhaps the next name will intrigue or spark debate, like only he could.

Brendan Gallagher came in as a rookie at the same time as former Canadien Alex Galchenyuk, while Chucky was drafted in the top-end of the first round in 2012, Gally was taken with selection 147 in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Draft. In Gallagher's 11-years with the Canadiens, he has played 638 regular-season games, recording 194 goals and 187 assists, for 381 points. Gallagher played parts of four seasons with the WHL's Vancouver Giants during his junior career; the final two he wore the A, and C on his sweater respectively.

Gallagher's dogged-style, and relentless motor has secured the diminutive 5'9» forward quality minutes, in which he produces and stays in his coaches good graces. Gallagher battles until the whistle, goes to the dirty areas and always stands up for his team-mates; many of the reasons his coaches and team-mates love him, are the same which have shortened his career and caused him to battle through so many injuries. Of the three potential captain candidates going forward Gallagher is the second forward, and longest serving current Canadiens.

The third potential option, should he decide to stay put in Montreal for the Canadiens re-tool is ‘Steady Eddy' Joel Edmundson. Edmundson played the first four years of his eight-year NHL career with the St. Louis Blues - posting 13 goals and 39 assists, for 52 points through 270 NHL games over four seasons, winning the 2018-19 Stanley Cup against the Boston Bruins . After his stint with the Blues, Edmundson played 68 fames with the Carolina Hurricanes, posting seven goals, and 13 asissts, for 20 poings. Since joing the Canadiens during the 2020-21 season, Edmundson's size, strength, IQ and ability to shutdown play's with his defensive ability has seen the likes of Weber, Chiarot, Kulak and Petry depart from the organization via trade, or a contract moving swap, and he has stayed put and provided a steady defenceman , with a Stanley Cup title under his belt, to help navigate the Canadiens going forward the 6'4» defenceman provides, size, strength and a steady game predicated on decision making, strength and stout defensive play.

Edmundson wont wow you, but will provide a reliable penalty killing option, with size and strength, his IQ always provides a go-to option for steady puck control and management situations. Eddy thrives on the penalty kill and is a fantastic guy to have on the ice protecting a lead, he knows how to win games and play the game the right away, seldom cheating in all of the three zones. Should Edmundson received the Captaincy, his many captain-like traits should allow for a seamless transition.

Once the captain is announced, I will write a follow-up article, and explain the newly minted captains tangibles and how he will handle his new role.
August 10   |   54 answers
The Canadiens next Captain: Who Will it Be?

Who'll be the Canadiens next captain?

Suzuki1833.3 %
Gallagher2342.6 %
Other1324.1 %
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