For the past two years, the Flames have been running with no captain. However, new GM Craig Conroy practically made it official during his introductory press conference, the Flames will have a captain come the 2023-24 season. When asked by Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg whether there will be a captain, Conroy was quite firm on his stance, stating “Absolutely, we are going to have a captain”. The Flames have quite a list of names to choose from as their leader, however, the big question is, who will that pick be? We asked, you answered.
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Currently the longest tenured Flame, Mikael Backlund has been looked at as the favourite to be the Flames next captain ever since Mark Giordano left. Though Matthew Tkachuk was also thought of during past seasons, Backlund has always had his fair share of supporters. Backlund was drafted by the Flames in 2007, and he has been with the organization ever since. Backlund has also been an alternate captain for the Flames since 2018.
Additionally, Elliotte Friedman reported that Backlund really wants to be the next captain for the Flames, and that other players on the team feel that he would be an excellent choice. A possible Backlund contract extension might just come with a captaincy as a bonus.
Rasmus Andersson‘s chances of being named captain might not be getting enough attention. Andersson led the team in TOI last season, and he also was the quarterback for the first power play unit. Andersson has grown his game exceptionally, putting up a career high in points two seasons ago at 50, and then practically matching it last year with 49 points with three fewer games played. Though Andersson has never served as an alternate captain for the team, I would not count out his chances on becoming the Flames next captain. He is an incredibly important player for the team.
Throw in the fact that he came up professionally with new head coach Ryan Huska, who then played an instrumental role the past few years developing Andersson on the back end, and he might just be the easy choice for the new coach.
When Jonathan Huberdeau signed with Calgary last year, one of the most brought up aspects about his game is his leadership qualities. Huberdeau is known to be an incredible leader, and we saw aspects of Huberdeau’s leadership when he took Jakob Pelletier under his wing last year. Huberdeau served as the alternate captain for the Florida Panthers from 2018-2022 before he got traded to Calgary. He was also given an “A” in game one of the season and is widely looked at as a leader in the Flames dressing room.
Though Huberdeau had a down year last year, he is still the face of the franchise, and what could be better than naming the face of the franchise the captain of the team?
I honestly did not expect MacKenzie Weegar to get this many votes. However, it does make sense. Weegar is looked at as arguably the best defenceman on the team, and he can really do it all for the Flames. He put up an elite performance defensively last season, but he is very capable of being the team’s best offensive defenceman as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes over the top powerplay unit this upcoming season, especially after putting up 11 points in 10 games while winning a gold medal at the World Championship with Canada.
Weegar also wore an “A” for that Canadian team. Can Weegar be a leader for the Flames like he was for Team Canada? It might be something worth exploring.
A Captain will be named
One thing is for certain, this upcoming year will not be like the last two. The Flames will have a new captain, coach, and general manager. It will be a year of many meaningful changes, and it is up to the team to have the proper leader to guide them through it, especially if the Flames want to be back to the contender status that they used to be.