By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens have announced that they have named Nick Suzuki as the team’s 31st captain of their history. He takes over the reigns from a great leader in Shea Weber, whom the Canadiens’ center take the time to call prior to accepting the captaincy. Weber apparently told Suzuki that he was ready to take on that role… and from the reaction on social media, few think otherwise.
I will admit that a part of me would have liked to see long-time Habs’ leader, Brendan Gallagher, get the honour, but Suzuki did an amazing sell job for the position. In fact, he convinced me that he is ready to be the captain of this team back in April. Reading some of the comments from his teammates, they seem to agree.
Suzuki, who just turned 23 last month, becomes the youngest captain in team history. He was acquired on September 10, 2018, in the trade that saw then captain Max Pacioretty heading to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Canadiens also received Tomas Tatar and a second round pick from Vegas in that trade.
Two veterans will be helping the new captain next season, as the Canadiens also announced that Joel Edmundson and Gallagher will wear the “A” as alternate-captains.
I’ve done a bit of research and here are some young men who have been named captains around the NHL over the years.
Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
19 years, 266 days
“You see every single night he goes out there and leads by example. He’s not afraid to say something when it needs to be said. For everyone in the room, he’s a great example of how you go out there and play every night. He takes it to a new level and definitely brings energy every night that we can feed off of.” ~ Darnell Nurse when McDavid was named captain
Vincent Lecavalier – Tampa Bay Lightning
19 years, 315 days
Vinny was the franchise’s first captain and he was also the first to lift the Stanley Cup over his head in Tampa Bay. Now working for the Canadiens, and former teammate of head coach Martin St-Louis, he certainly can serve as reference and vouch that young players can do that job.
Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado Avalanche
20 years, 57 days
Hard worker, gritty, level-headed and definitely talented are some of Landeskog’s best qualities. And it’s not the talent that lacks on that team yet, he’s the team captain and was at a very young age. His leadership has never been contested in Colorado or across the NHL.
Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
20 years, 59 days
Like McDavid, Crosby is a generational talent but more than that, he’s an amazing leader. Ask anyone who has played with him in Pittsburgh and they all say the same. Selfless, he helps others on and off the ice, and make people around him better.
“I promise to play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back.” ~ Sidney Crosby
Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
20 years, 164 days
Captain serious is his nickname, but no one will ever doubt his dedication and how good of a captain Toews has been throughout his career, even at the very beginning. Some people are born leaders. He’s one of them.
With that out of the way, we can now focus on the rookie camp which starts on Wednesday as some of the teams’ top prospects will be hitting the ice, trying to impress the Habs’ brass. Fans and players are itching to get going again, after what seems like a very long break, particularly following two shortened off-seasons due to COVID.