Red Wings Still Lack “Captain” Material on Roster

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Anthony Mantha #39 and Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings discuss a play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Red Wings 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Anthony Mantha; Dylan Larkin
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Anthony Mantha #39 and Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings discuss a play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Red Wings 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Anthony Mantha; Dylan Larkin /
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Amid another disappointing stretch, Detroit Red Wings lack leadership.

No captain to steer the ship, no player deserving.

The Detroit Red Wings are amid another rough patch in a season littered with them. The latest is a four-game losing streak with the past three showing up as blowouts with losses of 4-1, 4-1 and 5-1 to the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins respectively.

The team now sports an astonishing minus-106 goal differential, according to Detroit News writer Ted Kulfan, and is only seven away from the cap era record of minus-113 set by the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres, according to The Athletic’s Max Bultman.

The Red Wings are atrocious in all phases of the game, but what I’m struggling with is the lack of leadership.

Each game coach Jeff Blashill and players spit out mundane commentary with little to no enthusiasm. The closest I’ve heard to a little fire lately comes from forward Luke Glendening who said, “it gets harder and harder every loss we take,” according to a recent Detroit Free Press article.

Or when forward Anthony Mantha put out the lofty goal of scoring a point a game, according to the Detroit Free Press, after recently returning to the lineup. Hardly anything real motivating, but at least there’s some visible passion for higher expectations.

No captain to steer the ship, no player deserving.

As many of us know, the Red Wings don’t have a captain.

General manager Steve Yzerman wanted to spend this season evaluating the roster before handing the keys to the franchise to someone who isn’t deserving.

The question is, after six months of hockey and an onslaught of disappointing games, is anyone ready for that role? This won’t be a popular opinion, but I don’t think so.

Will Yzerman feel the pressure to appease fans and award most likely candidate Dylan Larkin with the “C” this off season to stabilize the locker room? My gut says yes, but my hope is no.

After two seasons without a captain, stabilizing the role with an easy choice like Larkin is popular and might be the only move that won’t ruffle feathers in the locker room.

Can you imagine if Yzerman doesn’t name a captain again, or maybe even worse, selects someone other than Larkin? Fans would be in disarray and Larkin’s morale would sink. Crazy to think, but it feels like it’s captain or a trade out of town for Larkin.

But that’s what I want Yzerman to at least consider. It doesn’t feel like anyone has proven himself yet, so what’s another year without one?

Larkin still feels “alternate captain” material to me, albeit the most sensible choice with a roster that lacks options. Mantha is an option, but he also feels better suited for the “A.” You have to figure a young defenseman will eventually rock an “A,” too.

Outside of that, names like Glendening and forward Tyler Bertuzzi are the only others that perk up when you are even considering alternates, let alone captain.

Larkin and fans might not want to hear it, but the Red Wings still don’t have a captain on this roster.

And I hope Yzerman makes someone earn it.

No captain to steer the ship, no player deserving…yet.