Earlier today, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin would be the new alternate captains, taking over for the departed Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne. Perry and Beauchemin were the right choices to be the new leaders on this team. And of course, Ryan Getzlaf will once again be the Ducks’ captain.
Perry has become one the NHL’s elite goal scorers, behind only Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. Last season, he scored over 40 goals for the second time in his career and was second only to Ovechkin in goals scored. Besides his goal scoring prowess, Perry has become of the leaders on the Ducks over the last several years. He is entering his 10th season in Anaheim, and was an alternate captain last season when Koivu or Selanne were out. While his temper can still get the best of him, he has mellowed out on the ice when compared to his earlier years, although I’m guessing that most officials will not be very happy with Perry now being one of the go to guys to talk to on the Ducks.
Beauchemin is a warrior on the ice and will play through almost any pain. He established that reputation during the 2006 and 2007 playoffs. In 2006, he had the epic fight with Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, which helped turn the tide of that series in Anaheim’s favor. In 2007, he was the best defensemen on the Ducks in the first round against Minnesota, a team that included Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. In the third game of that series, he was hit in the face by the puck. He had a plate surgically put into his jaw, missed game four (the only game the Ducks lost in that series), and returned in game five. In game five, he played over 28 minutes and had four shots on goal, while helping the Ducks close out the Wild. Last season, he was still recovering from knee surgery and he looked slow on the ice at times. Hopefully he is now fully recovered and will return to being the warrior that Ducks fans know him to be. Like Perry, Beauchemin was an alternate captain last season when Koivu or Selanne were out.
With Perry and Beauchemin being named the alternate captains, the question now is, who will be the alternate captain on the nights when Perry or Beauchemin don’t play? Here are my choices: Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Ryan Kesler, and Nate Thompson.
Cogliano has become a real leader for this team, and the only forwards signed for longer than he is are Getzlaf and Perry. Fowler became the Ducks’ best defenseman last season. If he can take the next step and become a true number one for the Ducks this season, it will make this team so much better. The Ducks have a ton of young defensemen on their roster, but Fowler is the one with the most experience and signed for the longest amount of time. If he is ready for it, giving him a larger leadership role should be among the next stages of his development. Lovejoy has quietly become a very dependable defenseman for the Ducks over the last couple of seasons and is well liked by his teammates and the fans. While I don’t think he’ll ever be a captain, he seems like a safe player to be an alternate some day. Kesler has been an alternate captain in the past and leads by example. Like Beauchemin, he is a warrior on the ice and can also be an elite scorer. Similar to Kesler, Thompson is a former alternate captain who also leads by example. With him, it’s less about scoring and more about shutting the opposition down, something that he is quite effective at. Whenever Perry and/or Beauchemin miss a game, I’d be very satisfied with any of these players filling in for them when needed.
The Ducks leadership core is now Getzlaf, Perry, and Beauchemin, three of the key players from the Ducks’ Stanley Cup victory back in 2007, and also the only three players remaining from that team. Hopefully they can once again lead Anaheim to another Stanley Cup.
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