That changed on Thursday, as following practice, head coach Bill Peters and general manager Ron Francis named Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk as the team’s co-captains.
“It’s a huge honor for both of us,” Faulk said. “With all the guys in the room that can step up and lead... we’re gonna continue to be ourselves.”
“There’s only a select few players that get to play in the NHL, and to be honored with the C and being able to lead a team, there’s definitely no better excitement,” Staal added.
No other team in the NHL currently has co-captains, so there were naturally questions to be asked about what would happen if the two reached an impasse.
“We’ll be on the same page,” Faulk joked, with the confidence in his voice of someone entering his seventh NHL season with three consecutive all-star game apperances under his belt.
The rotation will work with Staal wearing the letter at home with Faulk wearing it on the road for the first half of the season, and then the two will flip at that point.
As such, any awkwardness with the younger Staal succeeding his older brother will need to be resolved quickly. Jordan will be wearing the letter when Eric and his Minnesota Wild visit for the season-opener on Saturday.
Staal and Faulk join Kevin Dineen, Keith Primeau, Francis, Rod Brind’Amour, and the aforementioned Eric as the sixth and seventh captains in team history.
In addition the team also announced that Jeff Skinner would be serving as a permanent alternate throughout the year. That’s not a new role for Skinner, as he’s been wearing an “A” and serving as a leader on the team for multiple years now.
While the announcement of the team having co-captains came as a surprise to many in the team’s fan base, the brass came across as fully confident and assured in their final decision.
“We think we’ve got a great group of not only players, but beings in that locker room that are character individuals that want to help this team be successful,” Francis remarked.
“They’ll do a fantastic job, and we’ll have a good year,” Peters said. “That’s what it’s all about.”