Tuesday has been an interesting day for NHL captaincies.
Shortly after Buffalo announced Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott would serve as co-captains this season, Edmonton revealed it had named six — yes, six — alternate captains for the upcoming campaign: Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nick Schultz and Ryan Smyth.
Edmonton’s setting some kind of precedent with this move. At most, NHL teams will have three alternates, or rotate through a group of players.
If we had to guess, this is an attempt by the Oilers to expand its leadership group beyond Ference — who, it should be noted, got the “C” without ever playing a game for the club — yet still honor two of the club’s more veteran players: Smyth, who has played parts of 14 seasons in Edmonton and Schultz, who at 31 is the second-oldest blueliner on the team (behind Ference, who’s 34.)