Buffalo Sabres: No need to name an official captain

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 05: Ryan O'Reilly
NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 05: Ryan O'Reilly /

General manager Jason Botterill confirms the Buffalo Sabres will at least start the new season without an official captain, but is it the right decision?

You can all stop panicking now and catch you’re breath again. The anxious wait is over; the Buffalo Sabres will not be naming an official captain before the regular season begins.

In case you couldn’t tell, we wrote the previous paragraph with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s fair to say the majority of Sabres fans couldn’t give a flying fadoo who the captain is.

This is no different to members of the media, including the great Bob McCown. The Fan 590 radio personality and his cronies recently had a discussion, where they essentially agreed the need for an official captain in hockey is minimal at best.

The sentiment is you don’t need a ‘C’ — or indeed an ‘A’ — on your jersey, for the players to determine who their leaders are. In that respect, it seems the Buffalo Sabres agree with this.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, general manager Jason Botterill confirmed his decision. As reported by Amy Moritz of The Buffalo News, Botterill said:

"“I will not be naming a captain to start the season off here. We’ll see how things progress from that standpoint. … We’re very comfortable with our leadership group we have here.”"

The press conference was being held, to officially announce Jack Eichel‘s eight-year, $80 million contract extension. There had been some speculation the Sabres would also use the press conference to confirm him as the new team captain.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed. In our humble opinion, Eichel is not yet mature enough to hold the position which, if anything, should go to Ryan O’Reilly anyway:

"“Jack’s a big part of it,” said Botterill. “(However), we also don’t need Jack to take over the room or take over the organization.”More from Buffalo SabresBuffalo Sabres and Victor Olofsson making progress on contract extensionBuffalo Sabres still need goaltender help despite re-signing AndersonBuffalo Sabres: Time to close book on the Jack Eichel chapterBuffalo Sabres receiving interest in members of defensive coreBuffalo Sabres focused on youth during another disastrous season"

You have to imagine Eichel will eventually become team captain, as the official face of the Buffalo Sabres organisation. For now though, there will be no such pressure on him, allowing him to naturally grow into the role.

As for the 20-year-old himself, he sounds likes he agrees with the opinion that an official captain is not necessary – at least to a certain extent. As reported by Moritz, he said:

"“I don’t necessarily need a ‘C’ or an ‘A’ to be myself in the room, be a leader, speak up when needed or do the things I would do as a leader on the team. That’s obviously up to the team and the coaching staff. For me, I just try to be myself every day.”"

In truth, the most important thing for the Sabres, is to find a way to return to the playoffs after a six year absence. If Eichel, O’Reilly and company can achieve this, the chances are they won’t particularly care about who the captain should be.

Next: Is Jack Eichel worth his new deal?

What’s your take on the Buffalo Sabres’ decision to start the regular season without an official captain? Do you agree or disagree, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.