There have been nine captains in the history of the New Jersey Devils: Don Lever, Mel Bridgman, Kirk Muller, Bruce Driver, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Patrick Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner and, most recently, Zach Parise.
With Parise gone, the search for No. 10 is underway.
There’s no shortage of candidates in the Jersey room:
— Elias, 36, is one of the longest-serving Devils, has worn the “C” previously and was an alternate last season. That said, he still has a bad taste in his mouth from how his time as Devils captain ended:
“I don’t need a letter to know what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I had the C. I didn’t like the situation the way it was handled when it was taken away. I don’t want to be put in that position again. I think I can help all the young guys and be a leader no matter what. It won’t matter to me.”
Elias was named Devils’ captain before the 2006-07 season by then head coach Claude Julien. He was stripped of the C by Brent Sutter at the start of the 2007 training camp. Sutter told the media about it before discussing it with Elias.
— Ilya Kovalchuk captained the Thrashers for two seasons and also wore an “A” in 2011-12. He’s New Jersey’s highest-paid player and led the team in scoring last year. He also finished 10th in Hart Trophy voting.
— For some, Martin Brodeur is the New Jersey Devils. While having a goalie as captain isn’t commonplace, it has been done before, most recently with Roberto Luongo in Vancouver.
(Granted, many saw this as a failed experiment that ended with Luongo “relinquishing” the captaincy after the 2009-10 season.)
— Veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador has been with the club for four years and recently signed a three-year extension. He’s one of just four players on the roster signed through 2014-15.
There is another option for New Jersey:
The club adopted this practice for the first season post-lockout (2005-06) following Stevens’ retirement and Niedermayer’s departure to Anaheim.
Rather than anoint a new captain, the club opted to use four alternates from a pool of Elias, Scott Gomez, Colin White, John Madden, Brian Rafalski and Alex Mogilny.
So…what should the Devils do? Have at it in the comments section.