No Longer Potential New Captain Power Rankings

By Chris

I’ve got a ton of thoughts on yesterday’s press conference and I know the other guys do as well. We’ll get to those soon because there’s a lot to say.

For now, let’s start with the news of the day and that’s the first roster move made under Terry Pegula’s ownership: the waiving of captain Craig Rivet.

Essentially the team’s eighth defenseman, Rivet has only played in 23 of the team’s 58 games this season and is making the most money of any player on the Buffalo blueline. Rivet has battled injuries the last few seasons and, unfortunately, it looks like the game has passed him by.

If another team takes a chance on him, then good for him. He’s been a class act through it all and it would be great if he got another opportunity to play.

If he clears waivers, he could be sent down to Portland, he could stay with the team (remember Adam Mair last season?) or the Sabres could buy out the remainder of his contract.

It’s also not unreasonable to predict that Rivet retires if no team claims him. This, of course, assumes that Rivet really does believe that he can’t play anymore. The Sabres still owe him $865,951 according to CapGeek.com and it’s well within Rivet’s rights to collect the rest of that salary so that alone could give him a reason to stick around.

So with Rivet basically off the roster (for now), who could replace him as captain? Unfortunately, that player might not be on the team yet. But of the guys on the active roster, these skaters best fit the bill. Here’s the latest edition of Potential New Captain Power Rankings:

1. Thomas Vanek (Last Ranking: 1)
Atlas has been a beast this year. Maybe he finally deserves a letter on his chest.

2. Jason Pominville (2)
He’s a leader in the room and he’s under contract for awhile. Is he ready for that role?

3. Mike Grier (NR)
If anything, this would simply be a short-term fix to finish out the season. Grier might not be back next season either.

4. Paul Gaustad (3)
He’s put together a nice stretch of games and his defense has improved. Also, he’s already got an “A.”

5. Jordan Leoplod (4)
A lot of what I said in the last rankings still rings true: “Logging a ton of big minutes, has already taken control of the music in the locker room and could certainly have been an All-Star.”

6. Jochen Hecht (NR)
Like Grier, this would be a Band-Aid captaincy except has a few more years left on his current deal.

My best guess as to what happens with the “C” if Rivet is gone is that no one wears it for the rest of this season. No reason to rush it or put unnecessary pressure on a player who isn’t ready for it.

Makes you wonder what else the Pegula Era has in store for us in the near future.

E-mail:
chris@thegoosesroost.com

5 Comments

  1. Pegula gives it to Gilbert, Captain forever.

  2. No Montador? I know the expiring contract makes that a little awkward, but I’d still put him ahead of Hecht (please God, no) and hate to say it, but Grier too. He’s tough, gritty, and leads by example. He also appears to be not an idiot – judging from his interviews and post-game reflections, he’s one of the more analytical brains in the room. I know there are trade rumor swirling but I really hope they extend this guy. With half of our D playing musical chairs with a seat in the pressbox and Myers being… the way he is this year, Montador seems like the glue holding the defense together. That said… of the current options I’d be as happy with Jordan Leopold, for similar reasons. Vanek as Captain seems like a high-risk, high-reward proposition. I’m not prepared to stomach that risk just yet. I’d love to see Drew Stafford as Captain of the Sabres some day. That day is not today. Maybe in two or three years. I could live with Gaustad or Pominville – pros and cons for both of them.

    But I think that most likely the team will continue with just As for the season and name a new Captain next fall. And that would probably be for the best. (And as you said, that guy might not even be on this team yet. Though that worked so well the last time around…)

  3. I’m a big fan of what Montador’s done in his two years here. You’re right. He probably should have cracked these rankings.

  4. The more I think about it, we should be paying more attention to Montador’s role on this team. Especially with the trade winds blowing and free agency impending. I’ll gather my thoughts and have something up later in the week about it. He’s a player that’s easy to root for.

  5. I had no idea J-Leo had taken over the music in the locker room.

    I’ve been very impressed with Leopold’s composure in his own end and his smarts on the rush. If he takes the C, I hope it is by a vote of his peers.

    Otherwise, I have noted Vanek’s recent leadership stance in the locker room (“I’ve been getting the puck a lot more since Roy was injured,” to paraphrase).

    Gaustad would be a great captain – if he had more of a role in the clutch offensive play of the game (besides faceoffs).

    I think we’ll be looking at Vanek with the C on tonight, with Leopold a strong secondary candidate. Can’t wait to see!