Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said Sunday that rather than announce a new captain for the club, the team will utilize four alternate/assistant captains, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, J.T. MIller, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
It makes sense; there is no rush to name a new captain, especially considering Pettersson, the apparent front runner for some to take on the honour, will play next season under an expiring contract.
Miller’s name also naturally comes up, the veteran forward’s new seven-year deal kicks in next season.
Ekman-Larsson, a former captain with the Arizona Coyotes for three seasons, might typically get consideration, but there’s been speculation of the Canucks wanting to rid themselves of his remaining contract at some point, whether via trade or eventually via a buy-out. Tocchet coached OEL in Arizona for four seasons.
Chemistry, or lack thereof, will ultimately decide who wears the ‘C’. Now is not the time.
Tocchet will see what he can accomplish with a re-jiggered line-up that features the glaring absence of former captain and current New York Islander Bo Horvat.
NHL pundits expects to see more activity on the trade market from the Canucks, though it’ll be tough this season to top the Horvat move from January 30th.
Newcomer Anthony Beauvillier will see his first action in a new uniform as the Canucks take on the New Jersey Devils on Monday night in Newark.
The Canucks will then play at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night before taking on Horvat and the Islanders on Thursday.
Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre posted a photo of a new potential forward line for the Canucks that saw some work at practice on Sunday. Beauvillier to the left of centre Pettersson and right winger Andrei Kuzmenko. The latter two have shown some magic chemistry this season.
“It went well, legs a little heavy, but it’s good to finally meet the guys, everyone, so I was happy,” Beauvillier said. “I’m super excited to be here playing with those guys, it’s a great opportunity for me.”
Beauvillier comes over having registered nine goals and eleven assists thus far this season in 49 Islanders games.
Look for Miller to centre Conor Garland and Brock Boeser on the other top-6 forward unit. Dakota Joshua is another possibility on the left side with Miller.
After 28 games with Abbotsford in the American Hockey Leauge, Russian forward Vasily Podkolzin was back with the big club. Swedish forward Nils Aman, who hasn’t played for the big club since December 29th, also made the trip.
The other acquisition in the deal for Horvat, prospect forward Aatu Raty, was assigned to the AHL.