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.
The news comes just a few days after the Oilers named Andrew Ference the 14th captain in franchise history.
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.)