Aug 28, 2014, 10:46 PM EST
Since the start of 2013, three different players have worn the ‘C’ in Buffalo — Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Steve Ott — and they have all been traded. That’s created something of a leadership vacuum for the Sabres going into the 2014-15 campaign.
Fortunately, there have some candidates to fill that void.
Perhaps the most obvious player is Brian Gionta, who inked a three-year, $12.75 million contract with Buffalo over the summer. The 35-year-old doesn’t have experience within the Sabres’ organization, but he has a strong resume after serving as the Montreal Canadiens’ captain and winning the Stanley Cup.
He could prove to be a mentor for the young Sabres and aide them in their rebuilding efforts. After his tenure with Buffalo ends, the team could then hand the captaincy to one of the young forwards that’s established himself and symbolically complete the transitional period at that time.
The Sabres might also opt to go with a younger option to put the focus more squarely on their future. Tyler Ennis, for example, is an interesting choice. He’s just 24 years old (25 in October), but already has 267 NHL games under his belt. On top of that, he’s starting a five-year, $23 million contract this season, so he’s someone that will be around for the rest of Buffalo’s rebuild and then still be young enough to lead them once the Sabres are on the other side of it.
Ennis plans to learn from Gionta and the other veterans on the team, but he also recognizes that at this point he should take on more responsibilities in the locker room.
Another option is for the team to pass on naming a captain this season. As a rookie, Sam Reinhart isn’t expected to take on that role, but the 18-year-old is, as Flames president Brian Burke put it, an “Einstein on the ice” and might be a serious candidate in a year or two if everything goes right. On top of that, if Buffalo has a bad season, it could end up drafting a potential superstar in Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
Would it make sense for the Sabres to leave the position vacant for now in the hopes that one of their promising young players will claim it? That’s up to head coach Ted Nolan, but he certainly has a few interesting paths he could take.
Dec 22, 2014, 6:50 PM EST
Pittsburgh’s dressing seven defensemen against Florida.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:29 PM EST
Click for a surprising stat about the 31-year-old forward.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:01 PM EST
Weather forecast looking good, too.
Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST
News and notes from around the blue paint…
Dec 22, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
As the quote suggests, he’s feeling better.
Dec 22, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
“He’s 21 years old. I think we’re getting a lot out of a 21 year-old defenseman right now.”
Dec 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
Signs with HC Slovan Bratislava.
Dec 22, 2014, 2:14 PM EST
Have won eight straight at home, but must travel to Anaheim tonight.
Dec 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
“Is it true? I don’t know.”
Dec 22, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
After teammates Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson both had them.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:40 PM EST
Oh no, not this again.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:28 PM EST
Will GM Chuck Fletcher do anything about it?
Dec 22, 2014, 12:12 PM EST
Kings’ center broke out of his slump in a major way.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:06 PM EST
“I talked with Dallas and they think it’s a good experience for me to play for my country and play for the national team.”
Dec 22, 2014, 11:36 AM EST
Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart will be the alternates.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:33 AM EST
Lots of pressure on the Bruins and Leafs.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Will Willie Mitchell and Kris Letang square off again tonight in Florida?
Dec 22, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
“I’ve used almost every strategy I’ve got, and I love him.”
Dec 22, 2014, 9:42 AM EST
Volpatti will return to the long-term injured reserve list.
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- Giroux line takes Leafs ‘to school’ in Flyers’ 7-4 victory 17
- Wolverine Pacioretty gets two assists just two days after being hospitalized 18
- Ovechkin scores beauty as Caps shutout Devils 9