After trading their captain for the 2nd straight season the Buffalo Sabres look to appoint another captain before the start of the season. The Montreal Canadiens took some headlines this week by naming four alternates instead of one captain. I don’t think Nolan will go this route due to the youth on the roster limiting his options. When you take a look at the Sabres roster only a few names fit the role.
The Obvious Choice
Looking at the Sabres roster, one name sticks out as a potential captain. That player is newly signed Rochester native Brian Gionta. Gionta was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens for the previous four seasons. The veteran winger was given a two-year deal in the offseason to provide leadership and scoring. It’s no mystery that Gionta’s better years are behind him however, his leadership skills are not. Murray brought in Gionta to mainly teach the future of the organization, players like Grigensons, Ristolainen, Myers, Pysyk, and Foligno to name a few; how to lead and be a professional. I believe without a doubt that Girgensons is the future captain of the Buffalo Sabres of the unforeseeable future, however at 20 years old, the Latvian center is too young. Learning from
Gionta for two years and then taking over the captaincy makes all the sense in the world.
If given this opportunity Gionta will have a great responsibility in mentoring the Sabres bright future. Players like Grigorenko, Reinhart, Zadorov, Lemieux, Compher and perhaps either Eichel or McDavid will look to shadow Gionta as the grow.
Outside of Gionta only few options jump out, which make the Gionta decision that much easier. On the off-chance Gionta is not awarded the captaincy a few other players may the fit the role. Drew Stafford may be an option, the American born winger has grown as a professional over the past few seasons. His production has fallen off considerably, however he has grown as a professional. Stafford has worn the “A” for the Sabres for a few years. Stafford may be a
deadline trade option for the Sabres, being in the final year of his current deal. However as history has shown, the Sabres are not against moving their captain.
An under the radar option may be big defenseman Tyler Myers. Myers has started to return to form under Ted Nolan. The Sabres may look to give Myers the captaincy in hopes it’ll bring his game to another level. I think it is more likely Myers ends up with an “A” instead of the “C”. Other options may include Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson, and Josh Gorges. Lastly, I don’t want to rule out the Sabres and Nolan believing that the time is now Girgensons, but I think this is pretty unlikely.
In the end I think Gionta will be given the captaincy before the start of the regular season. I believe Gionta will be joined by Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson as alternate captains.