The next captain of the Calgary Flames is going to have their hands full when it comes to what the team, players, and fanbase expect of them.
Selecting a fan favourite is going to go a long way to get the city behind both the team’s direction as well as the belief in the franchise.
We have previously taken a look at both MacKenzie Weegar (a huge fan favourite pick) and Jonathan Huberdeau (the not-so-much a fan favourite option), but a name that has risen up the ranks recently has been that of Rasmus Andersson. Here’s why he could be the ideal candidate.
What makes Andersson an enticing captain candidate
The 26-year-old right shot defenceman—originally drafted in the second round by the Flames in 2015—has easily established himself as the team’s number one defenceman after the departure of Mark Giordano.
His recent on-ice performance and off-ice personality and contributions has earned his way into many fans hearts. He logs some of the most minutes out of any skater, and ranks near the top among both offensive and defensive statistics compared to his peers on the team. He’s one of the team’s most vocal skaters, plays with a bit of an edge, and most importantly is a home grown product signed to a long-term contract.
Currently he has three years left on his deal—at a very team-friendly AAV may I add—and it’s very likely that the team will want to retain his services for many years after that. Especially if he is named captain.
His outspoken demeanor and persona on and off the ice is something that would lend itself perfectly to the role of a captain. He’s never been one to shy away from the spotlight either, something needed in a Canadian market. Last week on the 32 Thoughts the Podcast, Andersson was asked about his thoughts on both if he wanted the captaincy and the need for one in a Canadian market:
“I would obviously love to be the captain of the Calgary Flames. We have a lot of great leaders. Whoever Conroy and Huska pick, it’s gonna be the right pick. I would embrace the challenge and opportunity. If it’s not me and it’s someone else, it’s gonna be the right call. I have so much trust in Conroy, Huska and the owners.
In a Canadian market you need someone to step up towards the media, towards the coaches, towards the owners. There’s so much pressure on the players. When we had Gio he would embrace that and he would step up.”– Rasmus Andersson, 32 Thoughts the Podcast
It should be noted just how many times both Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek said after the interview how much Andersson sounded like a captain and would be a good fit. Add in the fact that Andersson played under Ryan Huska in the AHL, the familiarity may pay off for both player and coach.
Now those are a wealth of reasons why Andersson should be the captain, but there are a few key things that could hold back him wearing the “C”.
The first being experience with a leadership role. Although not needed, Andersson hasn’t held any type of formal role in the NHL or AHL. His only time was wearing an “A” in his draft year with the Barrie Colts. With so many experienced players on the team, this could hold him back.
Additionally, Andersson was on the record in the same interview saying how he and the team viewed Mikael Backlund as the “captain” last season, despite him not having the “C”. With Backlund still on the roster, is this a role that Andersson would feel comfortable stepping into over his fellow countryman?
Oh captain, my captain
The theme of other experienced leaders on the team would be the main reason the team looks to name someone else other than Andersson as captain. That being said, an alternate captaincy should be on his resume at minimum next season.
He has the chops to make a difference on the team long-term and adding a formal designation to this would be the icing on top. What a story it would be for Andersson to go from once an out-of-shape prospect at camp to the team’s future captain.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire