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Morning Skate: Naming new captains for the NHL teams that need them

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These predictions will definitely come true.

Mar 18, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) speaks with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Andrew Ladd (16) during a break in play during the first period at MTS Centre.
Mar 18, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) speaks with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Andrew Ladd (16) during a break in play during the first period at MTS Centre.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.


FILLING VACANCIES

We're a month out from NHL training camps and a handful of teams still haven't named captains yet. How irresponsible. How will they win any games without leadership?

Let's give them a hand.

Carolina Hurricanes

Last captain: Eric Staal (traded last season, now with Minnesota Wild)

In an ideal world: Jordan Staal. What a nice way to pass the torch! Jordan is already an alternate. The only problem is he’s signed for the next seven years. Good luck changing your mind.

Who they’ll actually pick: Justin Faulk, following the time-honored NHL tradition of giving your elite defenseman the captaincy.

Edmonton Oilers

Last captain: Andrew Ference (still on the team, but old and bad)

In an ideal world: Connor McDavid. He’s already one of the best players in the league and will be for the next two decades.

Who they’ll actually pick: No front office embodies the "old-timers club" NHL archetype more than the Oilers. A veteran is a lock to get it. How Matt Hendricks hasn’t been named yet is beyond me.

Florida Panthers

Last captain: Willie Mitchell (likely headed to retirement)

In an ideal world: Jaromir Jagr. How fitting would it be if the Panthers gave Jagr the "C" in his (likely) last season?

Who they’ll actually pick: Something tells me Aaron Ekblad, but it might be too soon for that. In that case, probably nobody.

Nashville Predators

Last captain: Shea Weber (as if you don’t know what happened to him)

In an ideal world: P.K. Subban. Please let this happen.

Who they’ll actually pick: Mike Fisher. He’s been around the team forever and would make a great bridge captain until he leaves and one of the youngsters is ready to take the torch.

St. Louis Blues

Last captain: David Backes (signed with Bruins this summer)

In an ideal world: Alex Pietrangelo.

Who they’ll actually pick: Alex Pietrangelo. This is the second-easiest call on the list.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Last captain: Dion Phaneuf (traded to Senators last season)

In an ideal world: Nobody. Scan the roster and you’ll be hard pressed to find any player who immediately jumps out as captain material.

Who they’ll actually pick: Nobody. The safe bet says Mike Babcock will roll with three alternates and let the young guys prove their worth for a season or two before anointing one of them.

Winnipeg Jets

Last captain: Andrew Ladd (traded to Blackhawks last season)

In an ideal world: Blake Wheeler. Wheeler emerged in the last two seasons as one of the best scoring wingers in the game. In a down 2015-16 season, it was clear the team rallied whenever he found success.

Who they’ll actually pick: Wheeler. He’s a natural successor to Ladd’s role.

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