With Craig Rivet hanging out in the press box as a healthy scratch, it’s reasonable to think that his time as a Sabre is coming to an end. Even if he keeps the “C” for the rest of this season, there’s no way he comes back next season and still wears it, right? At this point, even bringing him back would be a questionable move.
Either way, the Sabres will be — or rather, should be — looking for a new captain. There’s a good chance that they’ll promote from within so let’s evaluate the leadership currently on the roster.
These are our Potential New Sabres Captain Power Rankings. I’d look to shorten the name, but every word is important. Our first set of rankings had Thomas Vanek at the top of the list and the latest edition takes the Dallas game and new injury news into account (remember, I’m only ranking skaters, so Ryan Miller isn’t accounted for).
The rankings are based on a combination of the likelihood they will be named captain (Vegas odds as it were) and if I think that player can effectively fulfill the role.
Let’s start at the top.
1. Jason Pominville (Last Ranking: 2)
He’s set to return tomorrow night for the game against Boston. That plus the fact he didn’t play in Saturday’s debacle propel him to the top of this list. I’d probably rather have an outsider, but as far as players on the roster go, Pominville fits the bill.
2. Derek Roy (3)
I was tempted to do a “2. Everyone Else.” That’s how bad the team was against Dallas. With Rivet out for a second straight game, that opened the door for a new leader to emerge from the locker room — and the wind took the door right off its hinges. Derek Roy has showed a lot of effort this year and that’s what you want to see out of a captain.
3. Jochen Hecht (4)
He’s respected in the locker room and that keeps him high on the list. However, his production is lacking and he’ll drop soon if his play doesn’t improve. He wouldn’t be a long-term solution to the captaincy.
4. Mike Grier (5)
He’s moving up this list by default. One of his main responsibilities is the penalty kill and suddenly that’s become an issue.
5. Thomas Vanek (1)
I’d like to drop him further after botching another 3-on-1. It’s tough to tell if they even practice those. Yet Vanek literally passed up another opportunity on Saturday just like he did in Chicago. As Coach Jimmy McGinty once said, “Winners always want the ball.” The Eyeball Test says Vanek isn’t looking to shoot enough. Truth: He’s 25th in the league with 37 shots. What I’m getting at is that he’s been frustrating to watch (going back before the Dallas game).
6. Rob Niedermayer (6)
Again, the PK isn’t good but his Stanley Cup ring keeps him high on this list.
7. Steve Montador (8)
I think I like the idea of Steve Montador as opposed to the Steve Montador that suits up every night. I have a feeling he’ll slowly climb this list as time goes on.
8. Paul Gaustad (7)
He’s 16th on the team in ice time, sandwiched between Grier and Niedermayer. He doesn’t have the same experience they do, so that, combined with his inconsistent play, drops him below his Green Teammate.
9. Shaone Morrisonn (15)
A big jump here because I like the way he defends his teammates. He’s probably up a little high because he’s still finding his role on the struggling blueline and he tends to take dumb penalties.
10. Drew Stafford (10)
He is what he is. He’s having a better year but it would be nice to see him make The Leap sooner than later (we’ve been waiting two years now).
11. Jordan Leopold (14)
Did you know he led the team in TOI in each of the last four games and has averaged the most icetime this season? He seems a little soft to me, but it seems as though he’s quickly gaining Lindy Ruff’s trust.
12. Tyler Myers (9)
I’d like to think he could eventually be the captain (in a few years), but he needs to find himself in a hurry. I’m still trying to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with him this season and I’m looking for something deeper than “He Misses Tallinder” (although I wouldn’t rule that out).
13. Cody McCormick (14)
Don’t think he’ll ever wear a letter, but he gives it his all.
14. Andrej Sekera (12)
Not sure how I feel about him as a player right now. I’m worried about his development.
15. Chris Butler (11)
16. Patrick Kaleta (13)
I like what he does for the team, but it’s not captain-esque.
17. Tyler Ennis (17)
He stays where he is but I think he could move up the list as time goes on. He’s got two goals and five assists, but he set the bar pretty high for himself after during the playoffs, and hasn’t quite been able to live up to it.
18. Mike Weber (19)
Inexperience doesn’t help his case. He’s learning.
19. Nathan Gebe (18)
Bumped down only because of injury. Guy can’t stay healthy, even if it was an unlucky incident that took him out of the lineup this time.
20. Luke Adam (NR)
Nice to see him get minutes with the big club. Not Quite Ready For Primetime Player.
21. Tim Connolly (20)
He shouldn’t wear a letter, let alone the “C.”
22. Craig Rivet (21)
I’m tempted to start referring to him as ‘Raig Rivet.
Of course, these are subject to change and debate.