Once the regular seasons arrives, everyone in the NHL will be all about Ws and Ls. But before we get there, a handful of teams still have to figure out what to do about their C.
We've already seen four teams name new captains this offseason: Blake Wheeler in Winnipeg, Alex Pietrangelo in St. Louis, Anze Kopitar in Los Angeles and Mike Fisher in Nashville. That leaves us with four teams that still don't have captains yet: Edmonton, Toronto, Carolina and Florida.
But unlike other years, this season's list doesn't add up to all that much suspense. The Oilers gave the "C" to Connor McDavid on Wednesday, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Maple Leafs just left the position vacant for another year or two. The Hurricanes could too, although they might turn to Justin Faulk or Jordan Staal. The Panthers are the most interesting call, as they could go with a young franchise player like Aaron Ekblad or Aleksander Barkov, a dependable veteran like Jussi Jokinen, or a certified legend in Jaromir Jagr.
So without much to speculate on for this year, let's spend some time looking ahead. Who are the NHL's next next captains? Here are five teams that could have a vacancy in the next year or two, and some best guesses on who could be next in line.
The current captain: Zdeno Chara, who's held the job since joining the team a decade ago.
Why they may need a new one soon: Chara's done all you could ask a captain to do, including lifting the Stanley Cup in 2011. But at 39 and with two years left on his contract, the finish line may be in sight.
Who's next: David Krejci is entering his eleventh NHL season, all with the Bruins, and currently wears an "A" for the team. We probably also need to mention Brad Marchand, since between a massive new contract and his monster performance at the World Cup, he's already had just about everything go his way over the last month. And there's always David Backes, the former Blues captain who joined the team as a free agent this year.
But with all due respect to those guys, it would a shock if the honor didn't go to Patrice Bergeron. He's one of the most well-respected players in the league, he's a superstar, and he figures to be in Boston for a long time. He makes for an easy pick here.