The Detroit Red Wings Alternate Captain Options

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 14: Mike Green
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 14: Mike Green /

The unfortunate departure of captain Henrik Zetterberg has left the Detroit Red Wings with a decision to make.  Name a new captain or roll with three alternates?  We choose the latter and here are our candidates.

The Detroit Red Wings currently have Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader serving as alternate captains.  With the departure of Henrik Zetterberg, the door is open to adding a third alternate.  Taking this approach will allow a young Dylan Larkin to grow into a leader rather than shoulder the leadership role all at once.

The Wings are anything but cup contenders at the moment, so there is no reason to start sewing a “C” onto someone’s jersey this season or even next.

Longtime Red Wing Gustav Nyquist would have been in consideration if he wasn’t entering the final year of his contract and expected to be moved by the Wings at the trade deadline.  Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson both are long shots to dawn an “A” based on performance and nightly impact on the game.

Three players who should be at the top of the list for the Detroit Red Wings are as follows;

Frans Nielsen;

Nielsen is set to see an expanded role this season with the Detroit Red Wings.  Jeff Blashill has already stated Nielsen will be the Detroit Red Wings second line center to start the season.  In the absence of Henrik Zetterberg, Nielsen becomes the Red Wings most reliable two-way center on the team.

Last season Nielsen struggled mightily to get anything going.  Frans recorded merely 33 total points for the Wings.  In his defense, Nielsen has been buried on a third line in Detroit over the past couple of seasons that has been used in a checking type role rather than scoring.

Nielsen should immediately benefit from playing between a pair of scoring wingers on the Red Wings second line.  There is no reason to think Nielsen won’t be able to achieve 50 plus points again.

Nielsen a veteran at 34 years old had previously worn an “A” during his time with the New York Islanders.  Frans will be a candidate to wear the third letter in Motown this season.

Nielsen becomes a vital piece for the young players on the team.  Most recently it was a benefit to skate a young player alongside Zetterberg.  Two seasons ago it was Larkin, last season it was Bertuzzi.  Anthony Mantha has seen his fair share of time on a Zetterberg line.  With Hank out of the picture, Frans Nielsen becomes that reliable veteran center Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen can learn from.

Mike Green;

This past summer Mike Green had the opportunity to play elsewhere.  Green decided he’d like to continue his NHL career as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.  Green knows the state the organization is in at the moment and still decided to return.  Green is set to embrace a leadership role and serve as a mentor to the young defensemen coming up through the Red Wings system.

Over the next two seasons, the Detroit Red Wings defense core will see a lot of new young faces.  Green is excited to help these youngsters develop into professionals.

Mike Green is expected to see a heavy workload this season.  Green is currently the Detroit Red Wings number one defenseman.  Danny DeKeyser and Mike Green will play against the opponents top line every night.  The pair should see around 23 or so minutes of ice a night.

During his time with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Mike Green was an alternate captain.  Green seems to have a great attitude and will be a candidate to dawn a letter this year for the Detroit Red Wings.

Dylan Larkin;

The Detroit Red Wings may choose to attach an “A” to the future captain Dylan Larkin immediately.  Detroit may want Larkin to get used to having a letter while he is still surrounded by a bunch of veteran players.

Larkin has seen ups and downs throughout his young NHL career.  With his mentor Henrik Zetterberg no longer with the team, how will Larkin react to the void that has been left behind?  Larkin was the Detroit Red Wings best forward last season in a bounce-back campaign.  Larkin found himself as the teams’ number one center and playing the most minutes of any forward on the club.

The last time the Detroit Red Wings gave Larkin more responsibility he struggled.  Detroit moved Larkin from Zetterberg’s wing in year one to the second line center position year two.  In year two it was more responsibility, and the young forward went into a sophomore slump.

Last season Larkin was able to bounce back, and after signing his long-term deal this summer, Larkin will be expected to produce like NHL number one centers do.  That in itself is a lot more pressure.  Detroit should be cautious with Larkin and take the same approach the Toronto Maple Leafs are with Austin Matthews.

Next. Is Dylan Larkin ready to be the next Captain?. dark

Dylan Larkin doesn’t need to have a letter this season.  Never the less, Larkin is an immediate option for an “A” if the Detroit Red Wings see fit.  But remember next season Kronwall’s “A” will become available and that would be a good time to sew it onto 71’s jersey.  After Larkin becomes comfortable with that, the “C” will be waiting.