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Predictions of Buffalo Sabres’ Captaincy for Next Season

May 14th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Anthony Custode Jr

It has been a terrible omen to be a captain for the Buffalo Sabres lately.

'093-002 // Matt D'Agostini and Steve Ott (12/5/2013)' photo (c) 2013, grilled cheese - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Sabres have traded away their last three captains in Steve Ott, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. However, the team will need to designate the captaincy to one of their players before the next season begins. 

At this point, the obvious choice would be Drew Stafford. Stafford is the longest tenured Sabre that is on the roster, and Ted Nolan looked to him late last season for his leadership. Fortunately for Sabres fans, that could mean that Stafford's time in Buffalo is limited, considering their recent tendency to trade their captain. Stafford is really a virus for a young team that is struggling to find its identity, but with the roster looking the way it does, he is most likely the front-runner for the role.

There has been plenty of talk of Buffalo's interest in Ryan Callahan, who is scheduled to become a free agent on July 1. If the Sabres can land Callahan, that could change the dynamic of the captaincy for Buffalo. Callahan was the captain of the New York Rangers before being traded to Tampa Bay, and if he were to sign a contract with Buffalo, one would figure it to be a longer-term contract, whereas Stafford's contract is set to expire after next season and could be on his way out of Buffalo anyway.

While many agree that the captain of a hockey team should be a veteran guy, younger players are known to be designated as an alternate captain. Marcus Foligno is one player that Nolan has looked to for leadership. Foligno is coming off of his first, full season with Buffalo, which hasn't been shortened by a lockout. In speaking with Foligno during the season, the impression remains that he expects to be in a leadership role, and Nolan has echoed that sentiment as well. Foligno has the potential to be a captain later in his career, but right now, with a young team that will have younger leaders step up, Foligno would probably be considered as the favorite to land one of those designations. 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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