Since the beginning, the Golden Knights have had 23 captains. Technically, they’ve had about 10 with a variety of players wearing “A’s” through the first three seasons, but the underlying mantra of “23 captains” has been a part of the fabric of the Golden Knights’ locker room since they first got together back in September of 2017.
With the new coach in town, that could be changing in the very near future.
I’m a believer in a captain and I think we have a lot of candidates in that dressing room. I’m still getting to know the group, but that’s something I’ll have to discuss with Bill Foley and George and Kelly and see what their feeling is on it. -Pete DeBoer on VGK Q&A Podcast for season ticket holders
Vegas is one of five teams in the NHL currently without a captain. They are also the only team that has not had a captain in any of the previous three years. No captainless team has won the Stanley Cup since 1972.
In the 30/31 team era (00-18) there were 18 seasons. Only 2 times did all teams have a captain. 7.1% of teams went without a captain. 0% of them won the Cup (0 of 34)
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) August 19, 2019
I think the reason we didn’t have a captain in Vegas, to begin with, was the identity of this team, basically coming out of expansion you were getting all these guys that were left unprotected or traded for, was the strength of the team was going to be in the group. -DeBoer
That reason was repeated time and time again by management, coaches, and the players during the Gallant era. DeBoer thinks the time is near that the first “C” is stitched into a Golden Knights jersey.
I think four years into that now, maybe going into five next year, the question is has someone stepped forward where you can change that philosophy. We’ve established our identity as a team and how we want to play. -DeBoer
Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Nate Schmidt, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith are a few of the likely candidates to “step forward.”
DeBoer says the process for selecting a captain varies from team to team but his method has always been to consult with his coaching staff and the team’s leadership group and then ultimately make the decision himself.
They are never easy (decisions) and you always have a group of guys that could take that role, but for me, there’s always someone that steps forward a little bit and it’s just getting to know the group long enough to figure out who that is. -DeBoer
He probably won’t make that decision directly out of the pause when the 2019-20 season resumes, but you better believe there will be a captain in Las Vegas soon.
I expect the captain to be Mark Stone.
A case can be made for everyone else mentioned in this article, but reading between the lines since DeBoer has been behind the Golden Knights’ bench, Stone appears to be the guy he’s leaning towards.
This comment in particular sticks out in my mind.
"I thought our leaders led tonight. Stone was the best player on the ice and everyone else jumped on board." -DeBoer
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) January 17, 2020
That was following DeBoer’s first game with the Golden Knights. He’s referenced Stone as a leader on multiple occasions since as well.
While it would seem to make sense that a player like Smith, Marchessault, or Schmidt would make the most sense having been here since the beginning, the guy making the decision hasn’t been here since the beginning.