When the Blues traded Ryan O'Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs in February, they became captainless. Many started to speculate who could become the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. Today we'll look at who could be the next to wear the C.
THE OBVIOUS PICK
The obvious next choice, one most people think will be the case, is Brayden Schenn. He fits the mold of what Blues fans believe a captain should be. Already wearing an 'A' for the Blues, Schenn plays a heavy game, has the skill to produce, and is relied upon in defensive situations. He's a 200-foot player, has no issues standing up for his teammates if, the need arises, and is the most likely candidate for the captaincy.
THE DARK HORSES
If you want a guy with leadership skills, and who's going to be around a while, Robert Thomas makes sense as well. The Blues number one center, like Schenn, plays a 200-foot game. He isn't the heavy hitter like Schenn, and he's not going to be dropping the mitts like Schenn either, but he is the most skilled center the Blues have. He's out on the ice for every situation. Have a late lead or need that one goal to tie or get the lead? Thomas will be out there. Like Schenn, Thomas wears the alternate captains 'A' as well. Many Blues fans would like to see him lead more by example, but Thomas is an option to step into that role.
If you're looking for a guy who clearly has leadership qualities but is likely the most frustrating player for fans to cheer for, look no further than Colton Parayko.
He undoubtedly has the skill to be a number one defenseman, and Blues fans have seen it before. The problem being, Parayko hasn't had Jay Bouwmeester for a few years, and since then, we haven't seen that high level out of Parayko. He also frustrates the fans, as he has immense size and strength, yet hardly uses it on the ice. Fans who were blessed to see the skill and physicality of Chris Pronger, wanted to see the same from Parayko. It's been clear for years that Parayko doesn't have that mean streak like Pronger, and prefers to use his reach and his stick to play defensively rather than focus on his physicality.
There is no doubt that fans would be livid with this option, but with that said, Parayko is a leader in the room, and is an option to be the next captain. As long as he isn't traded in the off-season.
A former captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, Justin Faulk could potentially be the next captain of the Blues as well. Seeing as he's held that position before, he'll know what is expected from him and he is a player who already has the respect of his teammates.
In all actuality, he's been the Blues number one defenseman, in terms of time-on-ice, as well as he's been the best actual defender this season. Despite all of this, his name doesn't come up nearly as often as the others when it comes to the Blues vacated captaincy, and it's hard to figure out why.
THE SURPISE PICK
Yeah, this is obviously all based on if the Blues could re-sign Ryan O'Reilly during free agency. It's possible, but extremely unlikely that this occurs, but they were talking in regards to a contract extention, and he fits the Blues mold, clearly, on what they would want and expect from a captain.
Don't expect this, as the Blues are clearly looking at a retool/rebuild that could take a few years, and at that point, you'd be looking at having a closer to retirement O'Reilly vs one that could be a key contributor for your club.
So my question to you, the reader, who do you think the next captain of the St. Louis Blues should be?
If you have any questions, you can hit me up on twitter @ritchey_hb
or email me at RandallRitchey@gmail.com.