New Jersey Devils: Who Should Be Next Captain?

New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Who should be the next captain of the New Jersey Devils?

With the National Hockey League on the cusp of of returning to play, the New Jersey Devils unfortunately find themselves on the outside looking in. Many articles have been written discussing what went wrong. However, the bigger question is, how does this organization move forward?

The first steps have already been taken, with Lindy Ruff having been named head coach and Tom Fitzgerald being given the full time General Manager position. They will have many difficult decisions to make over the coming months, including the draft, free agency, and figuring out how to best develop the organizations young players. One of their biggest decisions may be, who is going to lead this young group into the next phase of the rebuilding period?

The Devils are a young team, headlined by their two young centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. They are supplemented by the veterans on the team in Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. With their prospect pool ranked among the games best, the Devils will need someone to step up and lead this young group of players.

First, lets tackle the veterans. Both Zajac and Palmieri have been lauded for their leadership and both have been successful. Either player would be a tremendous captain in the short term. However, Zajac is now 35 and is entering the last season of his contract. Palmieri is entering the last season of his deal as well. While both players may ultimately re-sign, there is a certain level of uncertainty surrounding their situations. The Devils have been down that path before. The Devils named Zach Parise the captain only to watch him leave the next offseason. They had another short term captain in Bryce Salvador. This is not likely the ideal way to move forward.

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Given how young this team is, the ideal captain is going to be a player who will be around for a while and can grow with this team. This makes Hischier and Hughes as the two ideal candidates. Hughes is a tremendous talent who will likely end up being a star in this league for a long time. However, he did struggle as a rookie and likely needs to enjoy more success before being named a captain.

This makes Hischier the ideal candidate to take over as captain. Hischier is only 21, so he will grow with this group. Additionally, Hischier really stepped up his production and leadership once Taylor Hall was traded last year. Hischier has shown to make players around him better and has earned the respect of everyone in the clubhouse and should be named the next captain.