Paul Gaustad wore the C on the front of his jersey for the first preseason game of the 2011-2012 season. He has paid his dues on this team, and has led them on and off the ice through some thick and thin. He loves to play the game, and he loves to play it where few men think about going. Should he be the anointed leader of the team?
Regardless of who ends up the with C to start the season, the team will release information regarding the fact that the players decided on who will be the captain. I think very little of this is true. I think the coaching staff tells the players who they think would be a good candidate, so if there is a vote, it is swayed by passionate cries from the coaching staff.
There are a couple of guys on this team who can lay claim to having worn Blue and Gold longer than Gaustad, but the list is thin, and includes guys such as Jochen Hecht and Ales Kotalik. Not exactly the type of players that are deemed letter worthy. The downside to having Gaustad lead the troops into battle this season? He is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Buffalo Sabres have several prospects that are going to be looking for a full time spot in the very near future, in fact, most of them are NHL ready and in camp as we speak.
The voice of reason, the image of your team, standing up for your teammates, and a smart hockey sense. All good reasons why you should keep Paul Gaustad as your number one guy when it comes to lettering your sweater. Follow the jump to see other candidates for the captain’s spot this season.
Tyler Myers – 2010 Calder trophy winner. Enough said there. After having a pretty rough sophomore season, “captain” kid is poised to take on a huge (no pun intended) role with this team. Signing a seven year deal with the team assures that the stud defense-man will be around for awhile, and he has been the lynch pin that the team has built the defense system around. Personally, I think the Sabres would be better suited naming a different captain early on, and allowing Myers to learn the role that would place him in an even greater spotlight. Putting an A on him is a very smart choice by Lindy, and it should remain there, only until it is replaced with a C.
Robyn Regehr – Naming Regehr is a smart move if the Buffalo Sabres know where he will be playing in 2013. If you brought Regehr in to prove a point that you can get a free agent to move his non-movement clause, then you have succeeded and he will be playing elsewhere in 2013. That however, would give Myers 2 seasons of learning under a grizzled veteran. The last time the Sabres tried this route was with Craig Rivet, and it didn’t turn out the way they wanted.
Christian Erhoff – If your going to sign Erhoff for ten years, and you Tyler Myers on the other side of the ice, you have two stanchions on defense that you can build your system around. Putting the C on Erhoff is a bad move if your the current organization. Since February you have told us we have the right pieces in place, although we need help in a couple of areas. If you think the core is good enough, give someone in that core the C.
Thomas Vanek - If Paul Gaustad deserves to have the captaincy because his game has proven he is ready, than Thomas Vanek’s game needs to have the C in order to pick up his game. Vanek has time and time again put the weight on his shoulders when he or the team is struggling. Personally I have seen Thomas Vanek shrug his shoulders one too many times during a play to my liking to give him the C.
Ultimately its up to the team and the coaching staff to select who the next permanent captain of the Buffalo Sabres is going to be. What do you think?