While I would argue that Jamie Benn is almost guaranteed to be the next captain, especially after he was asked to sport the new jersey at the “A New Star Is Rising Event”, there are other names to be considered. However, little has been said regarding naming the next captain, so examining all options is an important thing to do.
The dark horse in the captain naming category is probably Brenden Dillon. After performing quite well in his rookie season as a defensemen, it’s not difficult to argue that his name may very well pop up in the ballots. While he only scored eight points during his first NHL season, the rookie rarely made mistakes on the blue line and he handled himself like he had been around the block a couple of times.
Of course, he is young. At 22-years-old, it’s difficult to include ‘experience’ in his NHL captainship resume. But to Dillon’s advantage, he wouldn’t be the youngest captain ever. Gabriel Landeskog was named captain at the age of 19 for the Colorado Avalanche, as well as Sidney Crosby for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Steve Yzerman was named captain of the Detroit Red Wings at the age of 21 and served as such until his retirement.
Comparing Dillon to Landeskog and Crosby seems like a useless thing to do though. Dillon is a defensemen, whereas the other two are scoring forwards. Two totally different playing styles. However, Dillon is quite the physical player, which is where Crosby and Landeskog might not be as aggressive, which is fine.
Dillon certainly held his own last year, getting into a few fights throughout the post-lockout season . The most memorable of such would most likely be his rumble with Jordin Tootoo. Being a captain doesn’t mean getting into fights, or even being physical, it’s obviously much more. But Dillon is showing signs of excellent progression and he will be relied upon by Dallas as a solid defensemen for years to come.
So he’s young, has little experience, but is a pretty physical guy. Perhaps the biggest downside; he doesn’t score much.
That doesn’t matter. Morrow was the captain when his point production was dropping. The point is that you don’t always need to score 40 goals to be a captain. You don’t need to set up plays out of thin air night after night. You don’t need to nail every man you see into the boards to send a message, and you don’t need to fight all the time to stand up for your team.
It’s not about all that.
It’s about a healthy balance between it all.
It’s about standing up for your team when a cheap shot is thrown, or your goalie is being mercilessly hacked at for the puck. It’s about coming in clutch for your teammates when you need them most, whether it be a desperation block with five seconds left on the clock, or a speech in the locker room before the 3rd period when your team is down. It’s about backing up your squad off the ice when the press is nailing you over last nights collapse. It’s about leading your team. It’s about setting an example.
To me, Brenden Dillon will turn into that type of player.
Now when you take all that into consideration, you might realize that this criteria illustrates a lot of players. There are guys that do this. A lot. It’s only a matter of who steps up to the plate to lead a team to victory.
Dillon may very well not end up the next captain. However, I do believe that his efforts are being recognized by Dallas management, and that he will be named an assistant captain within the next few years.