Who are the 31 NHL teams' captains, alternate captains for 2019-20 season?

Sporting News

Almost every offseason there is at least one change in who wears the "C" for an NHL squad. Last season there were five newly-named captains in the league while this year there's three. Whether a change is made because of retirement, roster moves or any number of reasons, the decision to appoint one individual as team captain is a major one, although some teams choose to play with only alternate captains.

There are currently four squads without captains: Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights. The teams that announced new captains for 2019-20 were the San Jose Sharks (Logan Couture), Carolina Hurricanes (Jordan Staal), Toronto Maple Leafs (John Tavares) and Vancouver Canucks (Bo Horvat).

The Sharks and Hurricanes were the only teams who lost their captains this offseason. Carolina's Justin Williams is reportedly taking a break from the NHL and San Jose's former captain Joe Pavelski, signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Stars.

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Although it is Jordan Staal's first time being a team captain, it is not the first time a Staal has captained the Carolina Hurricanes. His older brother, Eric, was the Hurricanes' captain from 2009-10 through 2015-16. In the West, Couture is entering his 11th season with the Sharks and his first as captain. Currently ranked fourth in goals (240) and points (507) in Sharks' history, he is four goals behind teammate Joe Thornton all the all-time list. Tavares becomes the 25th captain of the Maple Leafs following a three-year span with no "C" on the chest of a Maple Leafs' sweater. The Canucks played without a captain last season (following Henrik Sedin's retirement) and announced Horvat as team captain at their home opener this season.

So why do we need captains?

In the NHL, captains arguably have the most significant role of any major sport. They are the only ones permitted to talk to the referee about rule interpretations per Rule 6.1 of the 2018-19 NHL rulebook. It is also written that no team is permitted to have co-captains.

MORE: Complete list of all 31 teams' UFA, RFA players

So what are alternate captains for?

Well first things first, the proper term is "alternate captain" contrary to the popular belief that the "A" stands for "assistant captain." Essentially the alternate captains are there to take over the responsibilities of the captain if he is not on the ice. In fact, according to Rule 6.1, if a player (captain, alternate or neither) leaves the bench and "makes any protest or intervention with the officials," they will be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. It is also clearly stated that disagreements over penalty calls are not considered rule interpretations.

There is a limit to the number of captains a team can put on the ice in a given contest. No team is allowed more than three letters, either a captain and two alternates or three alternates may take the ice in a given game. You might be asking yourself, "How then are there more than three names listed for some teams?" Great question. Teams work around this rule by assigning different players as alternate captains for home and away contests.

One more thing to note: goaltenders are not permitted to be captains or alternate captains. Sorry.

Eastern Conference

The longest-tenured captain in the NHL is Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, entering his 14th season wearing the "C" on his chest. Staal and Tavares are the only first-year captains in the Eastern Conference. The next-shortest-tenured captains are Buffalo's Jack Eichel, Florida's Aleksander Barkov, Montreal's Shea Weber and the New York Islanders' Anders Lee — who are all entering their second season as team captains. The Red Wings, Rangers and Senators were all without a captain for the first time last season and do not have one listed for this year.

Team

Captain

Alternates

Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci

Buffalo Sabres

Jack Eichel

Marcus Johansson, Jake McCabe

Carolina Hurricanes

Jordan Staal

Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin

Columbus Blue Jackets

Nick Foligno

Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner

Detroit Red Wings

Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen

Florida Panthers

Aleksander Barkov

Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Keith Yandle

Montreal Canadiens

Shea Weber

Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher

New Jersey Devils

Andy Greene

Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac

New York Islanders

Anders Lee

Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, Andrew Ladd

New York Rangers

Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Mika Zibanejad

Ottawa Senators

Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey, Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Philadelphia Flyers

Claude Giroux

Sean Couturier

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby

Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin

Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos

Victor Hedman

Vegas Golden Knights

Reilly Smith

Toronto Maple Leafs

John Tavares

Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews

Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin

Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson

Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos Victor Hedman

Western Conference

Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith

The longest-tenured captain in the Western Conference is a tie between Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Minnesota's Mikko Koivu, each entering their 12th season as captain of their respective clubs. The newest captains entering the season in the West are Couture (San Jose) and Horvat (Vancouver). The Golden Knights have never had a team captain and now enter their third season in the NHL. The Canucks' previous captain was Henrik Sedin in the 2017-18 season.

Team

Captain

Alternates

Anaheim Ducks

Ryan Getzlaf

Ryan Kesler

Arizona Coyotes

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson, Derek Stepan

Calgary Flames

Mark Giordano

Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk

Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews

Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook

Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog

Erik Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn

John Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin

Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid

Adam Larsson, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar

Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty

Minnesota Wild

Mikko Koivu

Zach Parise, Ryan Suter

Nashville Predators

Roman Josi

Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen

San Jose Sharks

Logan Couture

Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton

St. Louis Blues

Alex Pietrangelo

Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko

Vancouver Canucks

Bo Horvat

Alexander Edler, Brandon Sutter, Christopher Tanev

Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos

Victor Hedman

Vegas Golden Knights

Reilly Smith

Winnipeg Jets

Blake Wheeler

Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey

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