With so many star players from Canada, there is no shortage of leaders among the possible candidates for the Olympic team. The candidates range anywhere from young guns to grizzled veterans, and there is no certainty about who could be named alternate captains, and who may get the honor of captaining Team Canada.
The Candidates: Captain
Sidney Crosby: Crosby is the obvious first addition to this list, as a previous captain to Team Canada and a definite franchise player, he certainly has the potential to reprise his role as captain. Currently, the center is captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and has served in this capacity for 14 years. The player has some amazing feats after putting up 1325 points in 1039 games in the NHL, as well as scoring the “Golden Goal” for Team Canada. Over his 16 seasons, he has collected a large number of trophies with three Stanley Cups, three Ted Lindsay’s, two Conn Smythe’s, two Hart’s, two Art Ross’s, two Maurice Richard’s, and a Mark Messier leadership trophy. Overall, the player is extremely accomplished, and as a leadership veteran, he is a strong candidate for a return to captaincy.
Connor McDavid: McDavid is heralded as the best player in the league by many different people. The 24-year-old is certainly considered a young gun of the league, and the captaincy candidates. The franchise forward is currently captain of the Edmonton Oilers and has captained both Team Canada and Team North America in World Tournaments. The player has captained All-Star teams since his second season in the NHL and started his trophy collection. Although the player has yet to win a Stanley Cup, he has picked up three Art Ross’s, three Ted Lindsay’s, and two Hart’s. The player has an amazing speed and shows professionalism beyond his years, which may see him as the next captain of Team Canada.
Nathan MacKinnon: MacKinnon is the only player on this list who is not currently the captain of his NHL team, although he is an alternate captain for the Colorado Avalanche and has the least personal awards to his name. This player, however, shows a high leadership capacity, as well as playing as a consummate professional and a stellar two-way player. The 6’0″ center is a heavy hitter and can play at either end of the ice effectively. He can contribute to either the power play or short-handed unit, as well as having shown his stamina as he can play well in OT to lead his team to victory. The player has a couple of personal accolades, having picked up a Lady Byng, as well as being the only player on this list to have won the Calder in his rookie season.
The Candidates: Alternates
Jonathan Toews: Toews is a stellar forward, and as the first member on this list has served both as an alternate captain for Team Canada, and as the captain of his team, the Chicago Blackhawks. The player is not only in question for whether he will get to wear an ‘A’ but also whether he will get to play with the team, as last season he did not get to play due to injury, and is still in doubt whether his form will be recovered. However, he has many merits behind him, including having three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe, a Frank J. Selke, and a Messier leadership trophy. His past performances have had an amazing impact on Team Canada, putting up a fair few points, and playing on some important lines.
Shea Weber: Weber has served as an alternate captain of Team Canada in the past, as well as currently captaining the Montreal Canadiens, the Canadian team that made it the farthest in the 2020-21 Stanley Cup playoffs. The defenseman is no stranger to the international stage as he has won a multitude of gold medals anywhere from Olympic gold, to World Junior Championship U20 gold. As for personal achievements, the player has received a Messier leadership trophy, as he has done a stellar job as captain of the Canadiens, and certainly looks like a top candidate for an alternate captaincy position.
Patrice Bergeron: Bergeron has served as an alternate captain to Team Canada before, as well as currently serving as the captain of the Boston Bruins organization. The player is largely considered to be one of the best two-way players in the game, having put up 917 points in his time in the NHL, as well as maintaining a positive plus-minus almost every season of his career. In terms of trophies, he seemingly has no shortage having received a Foundation Player Award, a King Clancy, a Messier, a Stanley Cup, and most impressively four Frank J. Selke. Whether it be in special teams or regular play, he certainly makes an argument for an alternate captain position, as well as making an argument for a top-line position.
Aaron Ekblad: Ekblad is a strong defenseman, who has helped to turn the Florida Panthers into genuine cup contenders from a defensive position and as an alternate captain. The former first overall pick won the Calder in his rookie season, as well as having won gold with Canada at previous World Championships. While before this season, the defenseman might not have been as high on people’s lists for an alternate captain position, after the Florida Panthers qualified for the playoffs for the first time in years, the player has made himself a serious contender.
Main image credit