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Who Has Established Themselves Enough To Be The Knight Commander?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights have “had 23 captains.” Each player, no matter of skill, salary, or demeanor all have an equal say in the Golden Knights locker room.

It’s utopia, and it’s kind of seemed that way in reality too.

For two seasons the franchise has been largely successful, so it’s hard to nitpick. However, both playoff runs were cut short. Go ahead and laugh but there could be a connection.

Over the history of the league, the Stanley Cup has been hoisted 101 times. One thing most of those Cup winning teams had in common was a captain. Heck, the 1989 Stanley Cup winning Calgary Flames had two captains. It’s that voice that leads by example on and off… you know all the talking points so I won’t waste your time.

The last captainless Stanley Cup winner was the 1971-72 Boston Bruins. The team had a vacancy at the captain’s role but had four alternates. They didn’t have a problem winning the finals without a captain, in fact, they did it two years prior. Same formula, no C, four As. It also didn’t hurt that Boston had the greatest defenseman in league history on their side.

With the exception of those two Bruins teams in the early 70’s, the trend continues for 35 years. So as much as some refuse to admit a team captains value, history tells you it does.

According to, the 1935 Montreal Maroons, the 1927 Ottawa Senators, 1925 Maroons, 1923 Senators, 1922 Toronto St. Patricks, 1921 Ottawa Senators, and the 1917 Toronto Arenas were the only other teams to kiss the cup without captains. Add it all up, and that’s nine teams in 101 years to win without a captain. Not exactly common.

The debate can end if and when the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup without a captain. It could happen this season, but historically the odds are stacked against them.

My point is it doesn’t happen often, and possibly the Golden Knights could benefit from one defined leader. On top of being responsible for their team on the ice and in the locker room, the captain will also act as a consigliere.

My half-ass attempt to convince you might not have worked, so I’ll leave it to you to figure out who. Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Nate Schmidt, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Deryk Engelland, or the field, the debate could go on for weeks.

Every guy has a legitimate claim, but do any have a claim so strong that they deserve the nod over everyone else?

EDIT: There was a bit of argument on social media about this article and the overall premise that a team without a captain often does not win. So, we looked up the entire history of the NHL (both pre Original 6 and post) to see how often teams went without captains and how often they were successful. These three tweets are the simplest look at it. If you would like further information, comment below and we’ll be happy to provide what we found.


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  1. Domenick

    Jonathan Marchessault would be a fine choice. Great player and passionate. Google video him describing the blown 5 minute major game 7 call and you will see extreme passion and emotion in full display.

  2. DOC

    There is only ONE on our roster who checks all the boxes needed to be THE Captain ….. Mark STONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In my opinion, not even close.

  3. Bob

    Without question, if you want to win in the playoffs it is absolutely necessary to have experienced leadership on the team. But whether or not those leaders have a patch on their chest does not make the team more likely to win in the playoffs. Over the past 101 years, just under 10% of the cup winners didn’t have a captain. Without doing any specific research, I’d say that the number of NHL teams all time that did not have a designated captain wouldn’t be too far from 10%. Teams that have a captain win the cup more often just because there are more teams that have a captain.

  4. Vic

    Attitude, skills, reputation, demeanor, leadership qualities, work ethic, excellent long-term contract….all point to Mark Stone. Let’s get it done and move on. The other guys on the team who qualify know he’s the correct choice, and some of them may not be around after next year anyway.

    13 days till September. Thank God.

  5. Carl

    Flame away if you want to, but if the captaincy is about leadership then Engelland should be the very first Golden Knights captain. His legacy as a leader is already established, so even if only for ONE SEASON, I can think of NO player more deserving than Engelland.

    Then, after Engelland lifts the first Golden Knights Stanley Cup, and assuming Engelland retires, give it to Marchessault.

    • Brian S Lawrence

      I agree with you on Engelland being the first Captain in our short history, but Marchessault after that? I’d give it to Schmidt over Stone

      • Carl

        Schmidt, yeah I like it. An ORIGINAL Golden Knight should be the first “C.” And the second. And maybe the third, as in Theodore or Tuch.

        • Mark

          Schmidt is a great choice. Listen, sometimes their are internal problems between players, someone needs to handle those things. Gallant and team management can’t do it all. 2nd is Stone. A team vote maybe required.

  6. Chris

    Engelland? We would still have no captain — he’s got a better than 50% shot of being healthy scratched during the stretch run and the playoffs.

    Captains are usually old and have bloated contracts. Pacioretty is clearly our guy!

  7. Mark

    Schmidt is a great choice. Listen, sometimes their are internal problems between players, someone needs to handle those things. Gallant and team management can’t do it all. 2nd is Stone. A team vote maybe required.

  8. crunch

    the Sharts are famous for stripping the C off of their captains…case in point both Marleau and Thornton….plus they just dumped their most recent captain Joe P by letting him walk after he scored 38 goals.

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