On the night of the NHL Trade Deadline Denver Post columnist Adrian Dater wrote an article giving his impressions of deadline day and in the article he proposed, and even placed a “bet”, that John Michael Liles will be the new Avalanche captain next year if Adam Foote retires. So this gave me an idea to do an overview on all the guys who could possibly receive the “C” next season and to give my take.
John Michael Liles- Liles has become an excellent leader for the Avalanche these past few years and he probably does deserve recognition for the fact he has been involved in trade rumors for about the past 6 years. Although Liles has never broken out to be the 60 point defenseman some thought he would he has displayed consistency and hard work ethic. The only potential danger of this move will be if the Avalanche continue to struggle, in future seasons, will he one day actually be dealt?
Matt Duchene- The young face of the Avalanche with all the potential in the world but can a 20 year old really be named captain? Duchene has received a massive support that he be named the next Avalanche captain likely because he is the new face of the franchise and also because he is the lone untouchable player the Avalanche have on their roster. Although in time he will be a great leader the fact of the matter is he probably does nothave enough experience to leap over the other nominees.
Paul Stastny- Stastny is currently an alternate captain and definitely one of the leaders of the Avalanche. His big contract alone shows how much the Avalanche feel he is the leader of the team but he does a good job backing it up. Stastny also displays his leadership as a pivotal member of team USA, which he could potentially receive an alternate captaincy at the next Olympics. The son of a Nordiques legend, Peter Stastny, Paul could bring with him leadership and tradition to the “C” which the Avalanche will be losing once Adam Foote retires.
Milan Hejduk- Milan owns the other “A” for the Avalanche but he also brings his veteran presence with him. Hejduk was drafted in 1994 by the Noriques and is the longest tenured Avalanche player on the current roster, since Adam Foote left for a few years. The question mark with Hejduk is he is an UFA after this season but last season he took an one year three million dollar deal and most people expect him to take a similar deal going into next season.
My Take: All four guys are great leaders in their own right but one player exemplifies loyalty and leadership to different degree. That man is Milan Hejduk. Now obviously my decision is all based on the fact Hejduk resigns with the Avs which is not a definite but if he does I don’t believe the Avs have a better option. If they give Milan the “C” for one season they can give an “A” to John Michael Liles, who has definitely earned it. Then if Hejduk retires after next year you decide between Stastny and Liles. My favorite thing about looking into the future? One day the Avs could potentially have a team with Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly,Joey Hishon, Tyson Barrie, and Stefan Elliot (you never know maybe even Peter Mueller) fighting for a “C” and two “A”s.