Last summer, I expected that Justin Williams would be named the Carolina Hurricanes captain for the 2017-18 season. Instead, the team made the puzzling non-decision decision to name Justin Faulk and Jordan Staal co-captains. And at least partly because of that decision, here we are again a year later contemplating options for the Hurricanes captain.
Cutting to the chase, I vote again for Justin Williams. Though it could ruffle feathers, I still think it is the simplest choice and the right choice. With Rod Brind’Amour now in charge, I think Williams definitely gets an elevated role, but whether or not that means a ‘C’ is yet to be determined.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a broader look at the likely options for resolving the captaincy.
Brind’Amour is on record as saying that the team would have a single captain so that is considered.
Take redo on 2017-18 and go with Justin Williams
Especially given Brind’Amour’s affinity for him, I think odds are that Justin Williams is named the captain. A potential negative is that it jumps him ahead of Staal and Faulk (if Faulk is still in a Canes uniform). That could ruffle some feathers, but I think three things mitigate this concern. First, I trust that Brind’Amour would handle this well which would go a long way toward mending any hurt feelings. Second, after the spring implosion last year, I am actually not against ruffling feathers a bit. That is actually one of the positives of naming Williams captain. It rocks the boat a bit and charts a new course which part of what this team needs. Third, I think naming a veteran and proven winner like Williams captain is different than having a younger player leap frog the current captains. Williams is a short-timer in the role as a 36-year old which might also build a bridge to a younger player like Sebastian Aho, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce or someone else becoming the captain in a couple years.
Stick with Jordan Staal with Williams in a support role
I think the second most likely scenario sees Jordan Staal remain the captain with Justin Williams taking Skinner’s ‘A’. That at least puts Williams in a formal role and depending on who Brind’Amour presents the new situation, Williams could gain vocal authority even with the ‘A’ instead of the ‘C’. If Faulk departs, that would also leave room for one of the young guns to take an ‘A’ and possibly become first in line for after Williams departs.
Push into the future with Sebastian Aho or Jaccob Slavin
A long shot but not impossible scenario could see the team push fully into the future by naming Sebastian Aho or Jaccob Slavin the captain. They would have Staal and likely Williams as assistants to support the transition. There are two key questions to answer related to this less likely scenario. Could the leadership role be a burden that slows ongoing development? Are either of these players or someone else ready to lead?
As I noted above, I do think the team will want to chart a course to a next long-term captain, but I think the best way to get there is with Justin Williams resetting the leadership and setting an example for what the role requires.
What say you Canes fans?
Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response.
1) Do you see any downside to naming Williams the captain over other options?
2) Name and defend your choice per the poll.