Well everyone it is time to take another poll. The Panthers are captainless right now. Who do you think should be the captain? (I know Ekblad will probably win this poll). Anyway I made a few picks based on Franchise Face, Fan Favorite, The Outspoken Leader, The Guy Who Sticks Up for his teammates and a wildcard. I also added Other. If you feel like you don’t like any of these picks please comment and tell me who you think should be the captain. Let’s bring up the case for each candidate.
Franchise Face/Fan Favorite Aaron Ekblad- Ekblad is overwhelmingly the favorite by the fans and is arguably the face of the Florida Panthers. The first overall pick defenseman in 2014 has two All-Star Games, a Rookie of the Year Award and a 8 year $60M dollar extension under his belt. He is going to be in Florida for the next 9 years. The young defenseman has 27 career goals, 75 career points in 159 career games. Best of all he said “I want to be here forever”. Ekblad is my favorite too. Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Tavares, Toews, Landeskong, Jamie Benn, Karlsson and Giroux are all pretty young and they have the C. McDavid is Edmonton’s favorite right now as well. If you want stability in a Captain you give it to Ekblad. Harvey from the Sun Sentinel did tell me that he wasn’t ready but a lot of Panthers fans, me included think he is more then ready. Sometimes because of his beard and his maturity, people mistake him for a veteran. There is a minor possibility that he might not get it this year but maybe in 2 years but it is a great idea to give the C to the guy the fans love the most and the guy who everyone thinks of first when they think of your team. However due to his age and the Panthers tendency to give the C to guys who are usually older (McCabe, Jovanaski, Mitchell, etc.) there is a chance Ekblad won’t get it but I think and many agree with me that he is by far the best choice.
Outspoken Leader Jussi Jokinen- Jokinen is the guy who will speak up for his team and his teammates. He spoke out against the NHL after Abdelkader’s hit on Barkov and I quote “People don’t go to games to watch guys like that”. Jokinen could’ve been suspended for saying that but he said it anyway. He also will be the guy to speak for the team. If Ekblad doesn’t get the C then my pick after Ekblad is Jokinen. I think Jokinen is a great player and a great leader. Stability is an issue with him because he is old and will be gone at the end of 2017-18 unless he resigns. I do think Jokinen does have the potential to be a leader because he has the courage like Mitchell did to speak up for his team but I just think Ekblad is too far favored in the other departments.
The Guy who will Stick Up For His Teammates Derek MacKenzie- D-Mac will stick up for his teammates. He let Abdelkader beat him up but he will go running to fight someone. If Erik Gudbranson was still here, he would own this category but 44 was shipped off so D-Mac is the next guy on the list. He is a little small but he isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. He is also a veteran so he can hold the C until Ekblad is ready (if Ekblad doesn’t get it). I do like D-Mac and he is third on my list.
Wildcard Nick Bjugstad- The only reason Bjugstad made this list was that Harvey suggested to me that he could be a potential captain candidate when I asked him a long time ago about it. I think Bjugstad is by far the least likely on this list.
If the Panthers decide to have a long-term captain, the fan favorite and their face of the franchise it’s Ekblad. Otherwise its D-Mac or Jokinen. Please vote in this poll.