Monday, June 13, 2011

Next Colorado Avalanche Captain

by J. Scott Moore

I’ve made my case for Matt Duchene being the next Avs captain, here. That was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece about that Avs plotting his ascension to the captaincy. But I am serious about this; make him captain.

A lot of people think Milan Hejduk or Paul Stastny or John-Michael Liles should/could or would be a better/more suitable choice. I think a lot of this is simply based of seniority in these people’s eyes. They don’t necessarily know that is how they are making their choice. But I think a lot of people do it and then will rationalize their way to the end point.

The time to challenge Matt Duchene as a leader is now. This team isn’t ready to go all the way, we know that. Duchene knows that, everyone knows it. What it does, is give him time to grow into the role so that when this young team does need that leader, he isn’t green. Wait till the team needs quality leadership to tip it over the edge into greatness and you’ve waited too long.

Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk are cut from the same the cloth. The aw-shucks, good guy that works hard and produces on a consistent level. But Matt Duchene is a driven individual on a different level. He wants to lead. Not that Hejduk or Stastny would turn it down; I think they would be honored and go all out. But Duchene is the guy that lies in bed at night and thinks about how to be this team’s captain. Really wants the opportunity.

I think Liles is the most well suited veteran for the job. But I’m not sure the coach is on board the Liles-train. Seems to be some doubt there and he’s always trade-bait. That just isn’t the best situation for a captain.

So what are the Avs waiting for? Adam Foote was named captain a week or two before training camp. This team isn’t likely to change much between now and then. Certainly not in a manner that would shift the candidates for captain.

Do it now. Let it marinate on the fans during the off-season. Let Matt Duchene get comfortable with it over the summer. You want Duchene to elevate his game? Give him responsibility and I think you will see it happen.



  1. Good points here and tough to argue with. The thing that has me so up in the air about this whole thing is the players on the team have never known this team without an unquestionable leader like Sakic or Foote. I know if I were Stastny, Hejduk, or Duchene that I wouldn't have spoken up like I might have with guys like 52 and 19 around. Maybe 23, 26, and 9 have some leadership qualities that will shine since the role will be brand new next season. We'll see. Either way, well done.

  2. I give you an A for effort (that's never made much sense to me) and I give Duchene an A for Alternate Captain.

    Hejduk is obviously a leader on the team, but he seems more like a hard-working, follow-the-leader kind of leader. Not really a captain-type leader.

    I'd give the C to Liles regardless of how much people like to make trade rumors. He definitely showed real leadership last season.

  3. Scott, I agree with you about Liles, he was like a new man last season, super motivated, smart play and of course scoring helps too. But rumors don't come from no where. Even if the team doesn't shop him they at least listen, I believe. To me that means the management and coaches see something we don't. Some weakness? I don't know, but if they are so open to trading him why make him captain?
    But again, I agree that he is right up there in the possibilities.

  4. Not really into predictions or anything, but if I was going to bet I'd say this is your lineup:

    Hejduk (C)
    Stastny (A)
    Duchene (A)

    IMHO I just don't see Liles in the mix, but that's just me. And let's not forget about Erik Johnson too. Defenseman make great leaders just for the fact they're out there during so much of the game.

  5. Jay, I didn't forget about Erik Johnson, just ignoring that possibility. I do think it is a possibility but I couldn't come up with a good reason he shouldn't be captain, except that he just got here, not good since seniority is the very criteria I'm arguing against.
    I think he's the X factor. I don't know, he might be a very good choice.

  6. I don't really see Duchene being named Captain this early in his career. I'd say it'd be good for him, and would definitely push him even more than he already is at this point. But You have to think about the seniority on the team. Hejduk has been with the team since '98, and has worn an A for a while now too. Stastny has been with the Avs since he started in the NHL, and the Stastny family has history with the club. Stastny has been a strong player, and a great leader that all of the young players on the team look up to. It wouldn't make sense to give the C to Duchene because he is still a young guy, and probably one of the least mature players on the team. Don't get me wrong, he definitely does have the potential to be a great leader on the team, and thats why he should get an A. And Hejduk is just too old at this point. He's on another 1 year contract through the 2011-12 season, and my guess is that after that he will retire. I just think it's time for the team to get a Captain that will be their Captain for 10+ years, and I definitely see Stastny staying with the team until he retires.

    Stastny (C)
    Hejduk (A)
    Duchene (A)

  7. Matt Duchene should be the captain of this up and coming team. If Hejduk was gauranteed to be around for another 3-5 years that would make it different, but hes likely to be done in a year or at the most two.
    Let the fire start with Duchene !!!!