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With Streit gone, is Tavares the next Isles captain?

Jun 12, 2013, 2:07 PM EST

John Tavares Press Conference Getty Images

The New York Islanders ended an era on Wednesday when they shipped captain Mark Streit to Philadelphia.

Streit, 35, had worn the “C” for New York since 2011 and, in doing so, became the first-ever Swiss born captain in NHL history.

In turn, Streit led the club to its first playoff appearance since 2007 and provided solid veteran leadership to a young team that took Pittsburgh to six games in the opening playoff round.

But now he’s gone, and the attention turns to his successor — which player will step up and become just the 14th captain in franchise history?

Logic suggest John Tavares, who served as an alternate this season, will be that guy.

Tavares, 22, led the Isles with 47 points in 48 games and earned his first-ever Hart Trophy nomination for league MVP (should he win, he’d be the first Islander to capture the award since Bryan Trottier in 1979.)

He’s the club’s most talented player and the face of the franchise. The only question, it seems, is if the Isles are ready to anoint a 22-year-old with the “C”.

For the most part, current NHL captains are experienced veterans (the notable exception being 20-year-old Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog). There have been other exceptions — Sidney Crosby was given Pittsburgh’s captaincy at 20, as was Chicago’s Jonathan Toews — but recent history shows the Isles have leaned towards giving the “C” to older players.

Prior to Streit (who was 34 at the time of his appointment), 38-year-old Doug Weight was the captain.

Prior to him, it was 37-year-old Bill Guerin.

The Isles could choose to go this direction with their next captain. Lubomir Visnovsky is one of the club’s elder statesmen (36 years old) and, after an acrimonious start to his tenure on Long Island, recently showed his commitment to the team by re-upping on a two-year, $9.5 million deal.

The Isles could also reward their longest-tenured player, Frans Nielsen, who’s been with the club since 2006 and has appeared in nearly 400 regular season contests.

Kyle Okposo is another option, having served as an alternate last season as well.

Such moves are possible, but ultimately unlikely.

It’s hard to think the Isles will pass on giving Tavares the honor of joining Hockey Hall of Famers Clark Gilles and Denis Potvin as players to serve as team captain.

It’s the the next logical step in this becoming Tavares’ team.

  1. freneticgarfieldfan - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Is the sky blue (on clear days)?

  2. bcisleman - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Lubo and Okposo are both possible as well but JT is likely.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I think okposo would be the best fit for captain

    • islesjb - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      I disagree. Prior to the late season push, and a productive playoff performance, a lot of isles fans (I was not one of them) were calling for KO to be traded.

      He’s a great player and I’m glad he finally seems to be coming around but he’s had a lot of issues with consistency.

      Any player other than JT would be straight ra-dic-alous

    • drone501 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      skys the limit for this team.

  4. islesjb - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Short answer: yes

    Best player on the team? Check
    Best thing to happen to the franchise in nearly 3 decades? Check

    I see your point on the Isles tendency to give the C to older players but I think that had more to do with the lack of a better option.

    Just a matter of time

  5. 24/7 Hockey - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Giving Tavares the C is a no-brainer. The only reason they havent previously is that he was too young and they wanted him to work for it. After 4 seasons and this one ending with him up for the Hart Trophy he has certainly worked for it and earned it. Handing him the C will confirm what we all know, that he is the face of the franchise, and will hand the C to a player that will be able to keep it for the next 15 years. To not do this would be completely stupid.

  6. ibieiniid - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    nah, they’re bouta make DiPietro cap’n.

    don’t laugh.

    • axisofweasels - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      you forgot yashin. yashin for captin

  7. orangandblack - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    “For the most part, current NHL captains are experienced veterans “……I feel like the NHL is shifting in the opposite direction, giving the captaincy to the teams biggest stars, to keep the fan base and media happy. The ‘C’ doesn’t mean what it used to. The reason the Isles recent history has been older, more experienced players, is because before Tavares, they really didn’t have a star player. Thus the playoff drought

    • jpelle82 - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      yeah especially in the east…look at tavares (assumed), giroux, callahan, crosby, ovechkin, staal, all made captains before or around the age of 25. then look at toews, landeskog, brown, ladd same story. not quite the majority yet but there’s gonna be some vacancies still, its no longer a given that the older guys get the nod.

      • ibieiniid - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        i agree with this whole thing except including Callahan, Brown, and maybe Ladd in the team’s biggest stars category. I’m not against giving the C to young guys, if their character deserves it. those 3 deserve it, IMO, especially Cally. SOME of the others? not so much. won’t name names though.

  8. 2qswing - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    OK guys, totally off topic here but when is the nhl schedule for 13-14 going to be announced

    • ibieiniid - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      probably closer to the 13-14 season…..

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      Historically the schedule has come out during the last week of June. This could be different because the season and playoffs were pushed out by a few weeks.

      • 2qswing - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        thanks Val

  9. mattymarts17 - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    It’s JT. Ox keeps an A, maybe Lubo, Frans or even Hammer get the other A.

  10. billyhauntswizards - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    it would be a crime if he isn’t.

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