With the trade of Jason Spezza, the Ottawa Senators will be in need of a new captain for the 2014-15 season. Below is a look at some of the most likely options:
Chris Phillips - "Big Rig" has been an assistant captain since 2006-07, and has been playing with the team since 1997-98. Entering the first year of his new two-year contract, most assume he will retire at the end of 2015-16. The captainship could be the closing to his long run with the Senators. The biggest knock against him is that he is no longer a top-four defenseman, and so doesn't see the playing time that many think is required for a captain.
Chris Neil - Having been rotated through as an alternate captain in previous seasons, Neil became a permanent alternate last season. He has played with the Senators since 2001-02, and like Phillips, has never played with another team. He is often seen as a leader, and is also a definite fan favourite. Neil has been very involved in the community, most notably taking over as chair of Rogers House (along with his wife, Caitlin) after Mike Fisher was traded to the Predators. Neil has two years left on his contract, after which many expect him to retire. However, also like Phillips, Neil has definitely shown signs of aging, and has recently been showing a tendency to take unnecessary penalties.
Erik Karlsson - Undoubtedly the most talented player on the Senators, having won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman in 2012. Like the two previous options, he has spent his entire career with the Senators. Karlsson wore an A on his jersey over the past season as a replacement for injured captains, especially when Phillips was injured, as Coach Paul MacLean showed a preference for having a forward and a defenseman as alternate captains.
Kyle Turris - Turris will be Ottawa's top-line centre for the upcoming season. Turris has shown significant growth each season since arriving from the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes in December 2011. Many view him as an option for a quieter captain. Has also worn an A on his jersey over the past season as necessitated by injuries.
Some of have also pointed out that it may be best to have three alternate captains in 2014-15 as the Senators are still a franchise in transition. The two previous captains, Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, have left in the two previous summers. There is a definite divide between Neil and Phillips as the remaining members of the "old guard", and the youth movement, led by Turris and Karlsson. Some believe that it would be best to let the team wait for at least a season before deciding the captain of the future.