He hinted at it months ago, yesterday he made it as clear as can be.
We’re not going to name a captain before we go back. We will have one prior to the start of next season. -Pete DeBoer
Normally, we leave the oddsmaking up to the best sportsbook in the world, William Hill, but today, I’m going to take my shot at setting the odds on who will wear the “C” when the Golden Knights stitch it on a jersey for the first time.
Stone is the massive betting favorite for a number of reasons. First, he’s the best player on the team and it’s not really all that close. That’s not always a prerequisite to be the captain, but it certainly helps. Next, DeBoer has lauded his leadership qualities since the moment he got to Vegas (Gallant did too when he first got Stone). He’s the right age, has an extended contract with the team, is clearly invested deeply in the team’s success as illustrated by his over-the-top celebrations, and he’s been an alternate captain during the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
If it’s anyone other than Stone, it’ll come as quite the surprise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other worthy candidates.
Most Golden Knights fans know Nate Schmidt as the loud, goofy, jokester that he comes across as in interviews, commercials, and skits, but Schmidt is, and has been, a real leader on this team for a long time. He was named the Golden Knights Player’s Association representative, he’s been an alternate captain at times during each of the first three seasons, and whenever anyone mentions the leadership group of the team he’s included.
He’s incredibly talkative on the ice, both in serious and joking manners and he’s even more talkative when you stick a microphone in his face after the games. He’s not your quintessential captain, but he certainly represents the Golden Knights.
While Schmidt is not the quintessential captain, Pacioretty is. The long-time captain of the Canadiens was happy to shed the label when he came to Vegas. That being said, when considering who is most likely to get the nod, he has to be in the mix as he’s the only player on the team to have ever done it in the NHL. All the things you look for in a captain, Pacioretty has. He was an excellent captain in Montreal and he’d be great at it in Vegas as well. If he wasn’t so vocal about being relieved of the burden when he became a Golden Knight, he’d probably have much better odds.
Smith would be your classic “lead by example” type of captain. There’s never a moment when he’s not busting his ass on the ice. Whether it’s in practice, in a game, or even before or after practice when he’s just getting in a few more reps, Smith is always working to get better. He’s been an alternate captain for three seasons for that exact reason and if DeBoer wants someone who has been with the team since the beginning, Smith could be that guy.
While he’s the player who would get the nod if I was the one in charge of picking the captain, Marchessault’s leadership style doesn’t quite seem to match up with DeBoer’s. He’s loud, abrasive, sometimes out-of-control, and never afraid to share his opinion even when he probably shouldn’t. To me, he defines what the Golden Knights are when they are at their best, an absolute pain in the ass to play against and annoying because they seem to be enjoying how annoying they are.
Marchessault has always been the voice of truth when times are tough for the Golden Knights too. He’s the first to step up and challenge the team, including himself, to get out of the rut and play to their capabilities. He’s also proven he can walk the walk, specifically when he was disgusted by the team’s play in Game 1 against Winnipeg and he came out and took over in Game 2.
The leading candidate in the “field” would be Deryk Engelland. He’s been the closest thing they’ve had to a captain, and if he’s around for another year, maybe DeBoer makes it official. Other options include Shea Theodore, William Karlsson, Paul Stastny, and Brayden McNabb.