Bruins Have 3 Potential Options for Next Captain

The Boston Bruins have had a long run of incredible captains throughout the history of the organization, from Milt Schmidt, to Johnny Bucyk, to Raymond Bourque, to Zdeno Chara, to the current captain, Patrice Bergeron. Many of their former captains now have their names and numbers hanging from the rafter in TD Garden (or should be very soon). 

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Bergeron is in his third season of wearing the “C” after taking over the role when Chara left to play for the Washington Capitals. It was a decision that took literally nobody by surprise as he had more than earned the position after serving as an alternate captain for the team since the 2006-07 season and earning a well respected reputation around the league. 

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Unfortunately, Bergeron is 37 years old and reaching the end of his career. He’s on a one-year contract, and it could very much go either way whether or not he returns for a 20th season. While I’m sure no one would be sad to see him return for the 2023-24 season and the team would certainly benefit from his continued leadership on and off the ice, it’s certainly interesting to start thinking about who will be the next person to take over the historic position. 

Charlie McAvoy

In my opinion, Charlie McAvoy is the best pick to be the next captain of the Boston Bruins. In only six seasons in the NHL, he has established himself as a cornerstone of this roster and is part of the core the Bruins will be building around for the next several years. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, who somehow seems to just keep improving. He’s currently at 17 points in 19 games this season and is a plus-7, contributing to his career plus-118. He’s a leader on the blue line and the team is undeniably better when he is on the ice. 

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Off the ice, McAvoy has stepped up as a leader in the Boston community. When Chara left, he took over the tradition of donating and delivering pies on Thanksgiving to those in need in Boston. He often participates in community events the team organizes, like hospital visits.

McAvoy has also demonstrated an interest in staying in Boston and continuing to be part of the organization moving forward. Last season, he signed an eight-year extension, keeping him in Boston through the 2029-30 season. The deal also has a no-move clause that kicks in at the start of the 2024-25 season. The Bruins have had great success with defenseman captains and he would be a great addition to that group.

Charlie Coyle

Charlie Coyle is another option as captain, though he probably wouldn’t last in the role as long as McAvoy could considering that he’s a bit older. He’s currently 30 years old and in the third year of a six-year contract. While he is not the same level of a player as a Bergeron or a Chara, he is a solid center who is well liked in the locker room and in the community. The organization loves to bring up the fact he is a local kid and making him the next captain would certainly be a fantastic story. 

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Similar to McAvoy, Coyle is active in the Boston community. If the Bruins’ organization don’t feel ready to hand over the “C” to a younger guy yet, Coyle would certainly be a great option out of the veterans in the room. He could give the team some solid years of leadership as the captaincy transitions to someone younger.

Brad Marchand

A dark horse and unconventional candidate, Brad Marchand makes more sense than people may originally think. Out of him, McAvoy, and Coyle, he is the only one with experience as an alternate captain, similar to what Bergeron had coming into the role. He’s matured on the ice as he’s gotten older and prior to last season, went multiple years without a suspension. He’s one of the team’s elite talents, and is consistently at the top of the team’s point totals. He’s currently sitting at 26 points in 24 games. 

Patrice Bergeron Brad Marchand Boston Bruins Celebrate
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins celebrate a goal (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Marchand is 34, older than Coyle, and isn’t going to have too many years ahead of him. But again, he could be a good transitional leader as the front office waits for some of the younger guys to be ready for the role. He’s the heart of the Bruins, and when he’s playing well, the rest of the team tends to fall in line. He’s already a leader in the locker room, so it wouldn’t be much of a leap to see him in the “C.”

Big Shoes to Fill in Boston

Whoever becomes the next captain whenever Bergeron is ready to retire is going to have big shoes to fill, whether it’s McAvoy, Coyle, Marchand, or someone else who emerges as an option later down the line. He has been a terrific leader throughout his career in Boston, not just the three seasons he has been a captain. He chose to come back for another season instead of retiring this past summer because he believed in this roster back when many were still under the belief that their contender window was pretty much shut. 

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The Bruins have the next three days off for the Christmas break and will return to action on Dec. 27 against the Ottawa Senators. They’ll follow it with another matchup against the New Jersey Devils, who they beat last night, 4-3. Their most exciting game of the season, the Winter Classic, is also right around the corner. Stay tuned with The Hockey Writers as the calendar flips to 2023.

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