VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks could be without a captain this season and they may not be the only Canadian team to forgo a designated leader.
The Canucks have said there’s no rush to replace Henrik Sedin, who wore the “C” before retiring with his twin brother, Daniel Sedin, at the end of last season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens are also currently without captains.
"We’re going to see the group and see who steps up. We don’t necessarily need to name a captain this year, if that’s what’s best for our team. We’ve got good leadership in the room; if we decide to go without a captain, I’m confident in that decision." – GM Benning #CanucksCamp
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) September 13, 2018
The role comes with a lot of responsibility, especially in a Canadian market, said Vancouver coach Travis Green.
“We had a great one here for a long time. We’ve had some great captains in Vancouver,” he said.
“I don’t think there has to be a rush to name a captain. I think if you do, I think you’re making a mistake. You gotta make sure whoever’s named the next captain is the right choice and is ready for the responsibility.”
Coaches and management will consider their options at training camp this weekend, but the role could go unfilled this year, said GM Jim Benning.
“We’re going to see the group and see who steps up. We don’t necessarily need to name a captain this year, if that’s what’s best for our team,” he said.
Bo Horvat is one name that has circulated in talks of leading the team into a new era. The centre is entering his fifth NHL season — all with the Canucks — and posted 22 goals and 22 assists last year.
The 23-year-old isn’t putting too much stock in the captain conversation, saying Thursday that the Canucks have “so many great leaders.”
“Anybody can wear a letter. Just because you have a letter on your jersey doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s a great honour and it would be a dream come true, but at the same time I’m not going to change my game, I’m not going to change who I am. I’m just going to go out there and help this team win.”
If the Canucks choose not to hand out the “C” this season, they may not be alone.
Toronto has gone captain-less since 2015-2016, choosing instead to name three alternates. This year, the alternates were handed to Patrick Marleau, Morgan Rielly and John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, US$77 million deal with the team on July 1.
READ MORE: Ottawa fans sorry to see captain Karlsson go
Ottawa and Montreal both traded away their captains in recent days. The Senators sent defenceman Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, while the Canadiens dealt left winger Max Pacioretty to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes named 27-year-old Oliver Ekman-Larsson as their new captain on Thursday and the Carolina Hurricanes gave the role to 36-year-old right winger Justin Williams.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press