With the news about Jack Eichel coming out, and his removal from the position of captain, the only remaining player wearing a letter on their jersey is alternate captain Kyle Okposo. This situation is certainly one that the Buffalo Sabres organization will look to correct, as the lack of players in leadership positions could become a real detriment for the organization. Here are some possible players that could be announced as wearing a letter on their jersey in the next couple of NHL seasons.
Rasmus Dahlin: Dahlin is a strong player and was a first-round pick for the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Overall the player is among one of the brightest defensive prospects in the Sabres organization and has seemed to be largely impactful in the locker room and on the ice for the organization under new head coach Don Granato. Overall it would not be surprising for this young defenseman to get an alternate captain position in the organization, with a possibility of advancing to the captaincy position in a couple of seasons.
Colin Miller: Miller is one of the older players in the organization, as the team has largely been going through a rebuilding phase in their tenure in the NHL. Overall, if the team is looking for some veteran leadership, Miller and Okposo are probably the closest they have to it. Miller is a fairly solid player, who looks to simply needs the motivation and player talent around him to recapture the performances we saw from him when he started his career in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.
Victor Olofsson: Olofsson has been a top-line forward with the Sabres for a couple of seasons now, and has seemed to perform fairly well in the organization. His goalscoring power could see him as a good candidate for a leadership position to attempt to motivate the players around him to play more aggressively and put up more points. Overall, the player could also have this role motivate him to perform better and put up more points for himself as well, while also chasing the puck down and being more effective on defense.
Jeff Skinner: Much like Miller, Skinner is another of the older players in the Sabres organization. While he hasn’t been a top performer in the forward lines, he has been fairly consistent in taking on the leadership position and is largely able to play anywhere in the forward positions. The team could hope that giving the player the ‘A’ would see him bounce back with a second wind that might see him put up more points, as well as maintaining a positive +/- rating.
Dylan Cozens: Cozens is not new to the concept of leading a team, as he took on the rotating captaincy of Team Canada for the World Junior Championships which saw the team bring home silver, as well as making the WJC all-star team. Overall, the player has a bright future ahead of him in the center and is a workhorse when it comes to putting out offense or defense. The player looks like he will play on the top line for the Sabres this season, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the team to give him an ‘A’ for his shirt.
Overall it seems likely that the Sabres will remain captainless for the foreseeable future, but they certainly have some options for their alternate captain positions. It is entirely possible to also implement a rotating alternate captain system much like what the Toronto Maple Leafs had last season. This could see up to five players rotating wearing the ‘A’ on their shirt depending on the game to keep the pressure mostly off of any one player.
The most likely selections for alternate captain out of this list would be Dahlin and Olofsson, as the two players bring the chance for longevity in these leadership positions, while Okposo already has the veteran player angle covered in their leadership. Overall, the Sabres might have a rough season, but they can certainly look to set up strong leadership to have better seasons in the future.
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