This is part of St. Louis Blues day at PHT…
When David Backes signed a long-term contract with the Boston Bruins in free agency it not only left the Blues with a hole down the middle of their lineup, it also meant they were losing one of their longest tenured players and their captain for the past five years.
When it comes to the latter role, the Blues have yet to announce a replacement for Backes who served as team captain between 2011 and 2016.
Looking at the roster there are three names that tend to stand out as likely candidates.
Alex Steen has been with the team since the 2008-09 season and was an assistant captain on the team this past season. Both of those factors work in his favor. What doesn’t work in his favor is that he is now entering the final year of his contract and his future with the team beyond this season is unknown. If the Blues are going to name a captain this season, they would probably want it to be a core player that is going to be with the team for the long haul.
Which brings us to the second candidate, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
Like Steen, Pietrangelo has been with the team for several years, was an assistant captain this past season, and is one of the best and most important players on the roster. But unlike Steen he is signed long-term, currently under contract through the end of the 2019-20 season, and is still only 26 years old. There would be no worry about him being a short-term, stop-gap solution and then having to potentially go through the process again in a year. He is going to be there.
The only other two players that seem like possible candidates might be Vladimir Tarasenko or Jaden Scwhartz. Both are signed long-term and are among the best players on the team (Tarasenko is the best player on the team), but neither one has been with the club as long as Steen or Pietrangelo, or had a letter on their jersey this past season.
So, who should be the next captain of the Blues?