I mentioned in the previous entry that the Rangers don’t have a lot of options for the captaincy, but they’re flush with options in comparison to the Senators, who are rebuilding and have had a tendency to broom any quality player that asks for too much for their cheapskate owner Eugene Melnyk.
The next captain of the Senators has three of the greatest players in franchise history to live up to as his immediate predecessors. Right winger Daniel Alfredsson was named captain for the 1999/00 season and would go on to score 898 points (348G, 550A) in 907 games with the “C,” also representing the Senators in three All-Star Games (2004, 2008, 2012), and taking home postseason Second Team All-Star honours (2006), a King Clancy Trophy (2012), and a Mark Messier Leadership Award (2013), before leaving for Detroit for the 2013/14 season. Alfredsson was succeeded by centre Jason Spezza, who, after some great seasons for the Sens ,would score 66 points (23G, 43A) in 75 games with the “C” before requesting a trade and winding up the next season with Dallas. Defenceman Erik Karlsson was Spezza’s successor, and would score 281 points (63G, 218A) in 312 games, representing the Sens in three All-Star Games (2016, 2017, 2018), being named a postseason First Team All-Star three times (2015, 2016, 2017), and leading the team (or tying for the team lead) in scoring for the second through fifth straight seasons, across his four years with the “C” before his 2018 trade to San Jose.
I’m burying the lede a bit. Just under two weeks ago Senators head coach DJ Smith confirmed the Sens would not be naming a captain. I can’t say I don’t disagree with that. The franchise has been a mess the past two years and change, and it could just make things worse to pick an individual to be “the guy.” Not to mention the fact that the Sens’ best players are youngsters whose continued development may be adversely affected by having to take that extra role. With that in mind, this particular addition is extra hypothetical going forward.
It’s always too early to declare a player their team’s captain coming directly off their first season. But once again, the Sens lack options. In Tkachuk’s case, he scored 45 points in 71 games, a 49-point pace, and is expected to beat that going forward. In addition to already being a major part of Ottawa’s offence, he finished last season 45th in the NHL with 174 hits. Playing a major role for the team and having that “put your body on the line” mentality will surely win him brownie points with the brass.
Ryan has been a disappointment for the Sens since he joined them. After finishing last season with 42 points, even Ryan’s best years as a Senator alone seem to be behind him. Still, he is with the Senators long-term, and if it’s experience you’re after, a team could do worse than a 32-year-old top-six forward who spent years early in his career playing on a line with Anaheim’s current captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Chabot is another strong pick for Ottawa’s captain, relatively speaking. He finished his second NHL with a team leading 55 points and 24:17 TOI per game. If the Sens, when they decide on a new captain, don’t look in the direction of who plays a “captain-y” style of play, then they could look to someone who gets a “captain-y” amount of responsibility on the ice.
As mentioned, we know for a fact that the Sens are not naming a captain this season. In the future, on the other hand, I can see Chabot getting the captaincy. He’s blossoming into a no.1 defenceman for the Sens and will be majorly important to their rebuild. When the time does come to pick a captain, his experience and contribution to the team by that point will be impossible to overlook.