By Michael Walters
This off season the Anaheim Ducks saw the departure of Francois Beauchemin to the Colorado Avalanche. The loss of Beauchemin was significant because he has been a fan favorite in Anaheim and also because he was the alternate captain along with Corey Perry last season.
So who should be the Ducks next alternate captain this season?
We did a brief fan poll on Twitter yesterday and the list of contenders the fans selected are: Kevin Bieksa, Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm, Nate Thompson, and Sami Vatanen. We will briefly discuss each player and what chances they have at getting the alternate captain designation. Then YOU the fans can let us know your thoughts and vote in the fan poll at the end!
Bieksa will be a new comer to the Ducks this year to fill the skates of Beauchemin. He has appeared in 597 games with the Vancouver Canucks in 10 seasons. He scored 56 goals and 185 assists for a total of 241 points. He brings added playoff experience as he has played in 71 games, including 25 games in the 2010-11 playoff run falling one game short of the Stanley Cup. He brings grit and size to the Ducks blue line. In his career he has been involved in 52 fights at the NHL level.
Outlook: It’s difficult to see Bieksa getting the “A” being new to the Ducks, but once upon a time a player named Scott Niedermayer was named an alternate captain in his first season with the Ducks.
Cogliano, also deservingly known as the “Ironman”, played four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and has now been with the Ducks the last four years. He has recorded 120 points, 63 goals and 57 assists while with the Ducks. He has been one of the Ducks best two way forwards in the past four seasons. He is the most dangerous when short-handed. He has eight short-handed goals while with the Ducks and lead the Ducks in short-handed goals for the last two seasons. He is also the NHL league holder in current games played among active players with 622. That stat is remarkable, but even more so with the beatings Ducks fans have seen him endure while in Anaheim.
Outlook: Cogliano would be an excellent choice because of his overall play. He can score, play defense, and get knocked down, but never out. He has an internal drive, heart, and will that is difficult to match.
Fowler, also known as “Cam America”, has been with the Ducks for five seasons total. He has appeared in 345 games with 29 goals and 121 assists for 150 points total. He has been a calm presence on the Ducks’ blue line. He usually doesn’t take too many penalties and is pretty solid with his puck handling. He is also a good two way defenseman creating opportunities on offense as well.
Outlook: Fowler has been a fan favorite in Anaheim since he has been on the team. He has a calm demeanor and good approach to the game. Well it be enough for him to be named alternate captain?
Kesler is definitely the front runner and fan favorite. How can you not like him as a choice, especially after his first season as a Duck? He played in 81 games last year only getting rested in one game at the end of the season. He recorded just under 50 points with 20 goals and 27 assists. He led the team in terms of winning face-offs at 56.3%. Not only does he bring it every night, but he elevates players(Matt Beleskey and Jakob Silfverberg) on his line.
Outlook: There is a good chance that Kelser will get the “A” for next season. But he will have some difficult competition with Cogliano. Both have tremendous drive and leadership capabilities. They are both proven players and fans in Anaheim won’t be disappointed in either choice.
Lindholm has played with the Ducks for the last two seasons. He recorded 13 goals and 51 assists for 64 total points. His +/- has been +54 which is the best amongst all Ducks players in the last two years on the roster. He is the best two way defenseman on the Ducks roster. Under the new 3-on-3 overtime rules don’t be surprised to see him paired with two forwards to start the overtime sessions next season.
Outlook: Lindholm appears to be the front runner amongst the Ducks’ defensemen. If the Ducks decide to go with a defenseman as opposed to a forward, then Lindholm would have a great chance.
Thompson came to the Ducks from Tampa Bay to add to the Ducks depth at center. He isn’t going to score many goals in the season, but Thompson contributes in other ways such as winning face-offs and playing solid defense. He was second in terms of winning face-offs at 52.8% behind Kesler during the season. In the playoffs last season he led the team with a 58.6% rating, which was best on the team.
Outlook: Thompson has been named the alternate captain before with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be difficult for Thompson to be named as the alternate to start the season due to his shoulder injury. He had shoulder injury and won’t able to play for the first few months of the 2015-16 season.
Sami, also known as the “Vatman”, has played two full seasons with the Ducks. In the last two seasons he has 18 goals and 40 assists for 58 total points. The Vatman has been a great two way addition to the Ducks blue line. He really excelled on the power play last year with 7 goals. He has been the quarterback on the first power play unit and was really in a groove on the special teams until his injury.
Outlook: Vatanen would be a good choice for the alternate captain spot. It would be close race between Lindholm, Fowler, and him if the Ducks want to choose a defenseman.
So there are your six top choices by the fans. What do YOU think? Vote below!
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