Defending Big D Mailbag, Volume 3: The Next Dallas Stars Captain?

In this edition of the Defending Big D Mailbag, we discuss the possibilities of the Post-Morrow era of Dallas Stars hockey, and opine on which of his teammates would look the best with a C stitched onto their sweater. While it's no slam-dunk that Brenden Morrow is going to be shipped out either at the trade deadline or sometime this offseason, his constant struggle with injuries and the Stars apparent willingness to look ahead to the next generation makes this a topic worthy of consideration.

There's been some discussion about who should we trade away should the Stars become sellers and among the players Morrow was one mentioned. That begs the question, if he were to be traded, who takes over the "C" for the remainder of the season as well as the future? Is it Benn's for the taking?
Thanks

Our take on this subject after the jump.

Before I chime in with my thoughts, here is what Defending Big D's Taylor Baird has to say on the subject:

Naming a captain is a very important part of building your team and should
be given all the time necessary for consideration and reflection. You need
to establish what characteristics you're looking for in your captain - do
they lead on the ice and off? Do they work hard, work smart, buy into what
you're trying to accomplish? Do they communicate well, not just with their
teammates but with the coaches, trainers, front office, referees, linesman,
media? Do others respect what he has to say and do they pay attention to
not only what he says but what he does? All of these things and more are
considered when choosing a captain.

When you're talking about who will be captain after Brenden Morrow, it's
hard to say for sure it is this guy's or that guy's "for the taking." There
are several guys on the team that exemplify a number of these things
listed. Steve Ott works hard, communicates well, and often is the "spark"
the team needs on the ice to get going. Loui Eriksson is the standard for
on and off ice work ethic and is well respected by teammates and opposing
players equally. Jamie Benn seems to really buy into what coach Gulutzan is
putting together here and has shown he'll have success with him as a coach
when he played in the AHL playoffs with Texas.

I think naming your next captain will be a hard decision, and I don't see
one clear cut front runner to be honest. I would prefer they make sure to
take the time to name a next captain when it's necessary to do so. If
you're looking at a captain as a long-term position within the team
structure and culture, I would hope they consider every guy on the team and
what they bring to the table in determining who is best suited for
the long-term. If that means giving someone the time needed to work on an
aspect of leadership that isn't quite developed yet, then allow him that
time and don't name him captain before he's ready. There's no rule that
says you have to name a captain immediately, and it would be preferable to
get the choice right than to rush to name a captain because you feel you
must.

As Taylor said, I think there is no need to rush Jamie Benn into the captain's role just yet. He has shown a tremendous level of maturity and leadership for a young kid so far, but being the team captain can be a heavy burden for a player still trying to make his mark on the league. Call me old fashioned, or a Derian Hatcher fanboy, but the team captain needs to be the alpha-male. The daddy. The man. Does that describe Jamie Benn? I think it will eventually, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a stop-gap captain in the mean time.

The answer to who gets the C next really depends on who is still here. You have to think if Brenden Morrow is shipped out, the availability of Stephane Robidas and Steve Ott would likely come into question as well. They seem like obvious choices as they are both veterans with strong ties to the organization and a high work rate. If they're still around, I think they'd have to be the front runners, if in no other capacity than stop-gap until one of the kids is ready.

In a world where none of these veterans are still around, I think the conversation turns to the dynamic duo of kids, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson. The obvious answer is Jamie Benn, who seems to be the be-all-end-all of the next generation of Dallas Stars hockey, but I have to say that I'd give Loui Eriksson serious consideration as well.

Loui has been compared with Stars legend Jere Lehtinen on countless occasions, if for no other reason than their ability to be good soldiers that seemingly never do anything wrong. I never really understood why Jere Lehtinen didn't get more games with an A on his sweater when he was the perfect role model for any hockey player to look up to. Loui Eriksson seems to have a lot of the same qualities, and has also been known to wear the A quite a bit already in his young career. I think he'd be a fantastic choice to lead this team in the captain's capacity.

In a situation like this, I'd also assume that a player like Trevor Daley would finally earn one of the freed up alternate captain positions after all his years of loyalty to the green star. He's really come into his own lately and should be seen by all as a very valuable part of the long-term core of the Dallas Stars.

I think the most likely scenario is for Jamie Benn to wear the C for this franchise for a very long time, either immediately or after a short run from one of our veterans while Jamie continues to mature. You never know, many people thought Derian Hatcher was too young to wear the C as well, and he turned out pretty good in that regard. Captains are getting younger and younger these days, and if the Dallas Stars decide to go with a full-on youth movement, I don't think there's much question at all.

Also, remember to send in your questions to Defending Big D for next week's Mailbag.

All you need on your end is an email address or a twitter handle. We can be reached on the following accounts:

Email - dbdmailbag@gmail.com
Twitter - @dbdmailbag

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