With a little under a month left until the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, the Philadelphia Flyers need to start thinking about potential replacements for Claude Giroux as the next captain. Giroux was named captain before the 2012-13 season and has remained at the helm ever since. As captain, he has solidified his name as one of the greatest Flyers of all time, but that run might soon be coming to an end as trade rumors swirl.
Related: Flyers: Potential Trade Returns for Giroux From Avalanche, Wild & Blues
Giroux has embodied every single meaning behind being the captain of the Flyers so finding a replacement once he moved on is going to be difficult. After the season the team has gone through, it becomes clear as to why he would want to move onto another team, but he continues to give his all every single game. When it comes time for the organization to select a new captain, he is the perfect example of what it means to be a leader on and off the ice.
“He cares very much about this organization and the fact that we’re struggling right now, he takes that very personally,” said Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo. “So, that part’s very difficult. And then you add on the stress, the uncertainty of what’s to come. You can just tell the way that he plays night after night, the way that he comes to the rink, the way that he acts as a professional, the way that he acts in the dressing room, on the bench, on the ice, how much he cares about this organization, so it’s very stressful obviously. In true G fashion, he continues to go out and play hard for the group, and that’s great for us.”
The current roster is filled with viable candidates to replace Giroux as the new captain, but the decision will not be easy once he decides to move on. From Sean Couturier to Ivan Provorov, the Flyers have plenty of leadership in the room, but it’s just a matter of choosing the right guy for the job.
Sean Couturier – The Obvious Choice
Some might call Sean Couturier the easy option to be the next captain of the Flyers, but it is the right choice. Couturier is in his 11th season with the Flyers, in which he has served as an assistant captain for the last few years. As a member of the Flyers organization, he has embodied what it means to be a leader from the moment he stepped onto the ice.
“I try to lead in any way I can. More by example, I should say,” Couturier said back in 2018. “I’m not the guy who’s going to yell or talk often. I try to lead by example. Maybe show the new guys, I should say young guys, how the game should be played. Play it out by example.”
A teammate who leads by example is what the organization needs in a captain. Giroux has been that type of captain every single season, so this would be nothing new. Couturier has embodied that mentality under the current leadership group of the team. At this point, it’s more of an expectation for the organization than anything. He has seven more years remaining on his current contract, so he will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
Scott Laughton – The Correct Choice
Among players on the current roster that have stepped up over the last few seasons, Scott Laughton quickly comes to mind when thinking about leadership. Laughton is in his ninth season with the Philadelphia Flyers since being drafted 20th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. Over the last couple of seasons, he has emerged as a go-to guy in the locker room and on the ice during times of need, especially with how the 2021-22 season has gone so far (from ‘In a disappointing Flyers’ season, Scott Laughton seizes the opportunity and emerges as a leader,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/20/2022).
“He’s someone I’ve respected the way that he goes about his business and tries to prepare himself to be a good player in how much he cares and how much he wants to be a good player,” van Riemsdyk said. “So, I think he’s always kind of had that since I’ve been here. So, it’s funny, now, obviously, now he’s getting the recognition, getting the chance to wear a letter, which is a big deal.”
He is not someone that stands out on the ice all too often or makes highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis, but he is someone who is going to work hard no matter the situation. Regardless of how bad this season has been, he has given his all every night, both on and off the ice. He has stepped up when the team needed him most and even goes out of his way to defend teammates when necessary. The Flyers organization could not ask for a better candidate for becoming the next captain.
Ivan Provorov – The Sleeper Pick
After being drafted seventh overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, Ivan Provorov has become a staple on defense for the Flyers. Provorov quickly emerged as a leader in the locker room as a young defenseman on an up-and-coming team. He continues to be one of the outspoken leaders on and off the ice (from ‘Ivan Provorov on having an even bigger role leading the Flyers defense: Bring it on | On The Fly,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/20/2020).
“Honestly, ever since I started playing, I’ve been the leader on every team I’ve played on,” said Provorov. “I like that. I like leading by example and doing everything I can to help the team to win. We’ve got a great D-corps and I’m looking forward to the season.”
While he is more than likely not the next captain of the Flyers, his leadership capabilities certainly stand out among the current roster. He currently serves as one of the alternate captains for the team and will most likely continue that role heading into the next season, but it would not be surprising if he is named the next team captain.
Giroux has served the Flyers well during his tenure as captain so whoever is next has big shoes to fill. Once the day finally comes to replace him as captain, a whole new era for the Flyers organization begins — whether that is for the better or worst is yet to be determined.