I don’t know about you, but in the offseason (when your NHL feed is game-less), it’s hard to get out of the groove of the same, regurgitated hockey topics that get circulated throughout social media. Case in point; Jason Spezza. After officially requesting a trade, we all know that there is a solid to very good chance that he will be gone.
Therefore, in these trying and needle-skipping times, I think it’s important to dream big, skip to a new track and look outside the box. As a way of doing that, why not escape the cold, harsh reality of a terrible hockey-news week and dream big about the best possible captain of the Sens.
On this list, I’ve included some definite outside long shots, but I also tried to etch out a few reasonable choices that are within the galaxy of probability (but please remember – this is human probability and not Melnyk probability. These are two vastly different things):
Once a prime name in the NHL, 33-year-old Joe ‘I’d have my c*ck out’ Thornton has become one of those question mark captains that just can’t seem to get it done in the postseason. Sure – he’s locked up until 2016/17 making $6.75 million/yr, but maybe the Sharks don’t want him anymore. I mean, after dumping four straight games to the Kings in round one (after having a 3-0 death grip), there’s no way this team won’t be ready for a shake-up, right? Much like Spezza, Thornton is a point-per-game player (1,194 pts in 1,207 games) and a proven offensive performer. He is also more of a two-way player than most centres and is not afraid to throw the body. Can you imagine Bobby Ryan on a line with Joey T? Yikes. Anyway – this is most likely never happening, but imagining Thornton in a Red, White and Black jersey was almost worth the price of writing this article.
Having played for two different teams in the past two seasons, I wouldn’t put it past Iginla to think about being an Ottawa Senator. Obviously, we are not the Penguins or the Bruins in terms of our depth or cap-room, but come on – dude’s gotta eat, right? The 36-year-old winger is a UFA, but will Boston keep him around after a second round exit against the Habs? He also had one of his best seasons in three years in 2013/14 (61 points and 30 goals in 78 games) and he could probably take his choice of any team in the league with his experience and production. But dang – Iginla as the other winger with Thornton and Ryan? Or helping out the Turris and Mac line? Sheesh.
As soon as the Spezza rumours began to circulate in early April, Kesler was one of the first names on the media-radar as being an equally frustrated (and possibly interchangeable) first line centre. At 29, it’s obvious that Kesler has lots of hockey left, but having only eked out 43 and 49 points in his last two full seasons, I don’t know if this is the guy that I’d want on our top line. He has a solid physical presence and that would obviously be an upside to a Spezza’s corner-hate, but I’m not totally sold on his personality. I really don’t have anything against Kesler, but in all honesty, I just don’t like the cut of his super-muscular jib. There’s something about him that suggests a smug/non-media friendly personality, and I think we have already had our share of those types on the Sens.
I know, I know. ‘If pigs could fly…’ But hear me out; He’s a UFA and as we all know, he can do the job. Unfortunately, the chances of Alfie returning to the Capital are less likely than…oh, I don’t know…Melynk tweeting about horse-racing at the very same moment that Spezza requested a trade (oh wait…uhhh…). Like Iginla, at Alfie’s age range, if he does still want to play, he can’t be that choosy. But after loosing his front teeth after 41 years of being a solid human being, the Alfmeister may be looking to pack it in.
Oddly enough, this guy is actually the current captain of the Ottawa Senators. Strange, right? It’s also strange when a team has so little faith in its current pack of players that its management would hang the captain out to dry as trade-bait. That’s also strange, right? I think so. Unlike most naysayers, I was actually somewhat excited when Spezza was given the C last summer. I thought it was going to be the beginning of a new era in the world of the Ottawa Senators. I thought that after being a gritty, trap-style D team that relied heavily on hot goaltending and luck, we would actually start to become an offensive force in the NHL. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and as it goes in the NHL, a fall-guy was needed for the Sens missing the mark of the playoffs. Call me crazy, but I think that building a successful team takes time. Expecting that we would go deep in the playoffs after losing Alfie was a bit misguided – but I think it's safe to say that one bad year is hardly worth losing a player like Spezza. He is, after all, the current captain - and there was a time when wearing the C actually meant that your team would stand behind you.
Here’s my question to you S7ers: if you could have anyone (and I mean ANYone) as captain of the Sens, who would it be?