Into the Deep: Seattle Kraken Leadership Group
The Seattle Kraken may have just wrapped up their season but the offseason excitement is just beginning. Into the Deep is our series that dives into the different phases and developments of the Seattle Kraken offseason. This post we are taking a look at the Seattle Kraken leadership group.
Each NHL locker room has it’s leadership group. Some guys are recognized by donning an “A” and a deserving player sometimes gets the “C”. The Seattle Kraken have had only one true captain in franchise history, defenseman Mark Giordano. It seems like forever ago that Giordano wore a Seattle sweater yet alone captained the team. He was traded at the deadline last season to Toronto.
A questionable move by some, but with the team going nowhere in their inaugural season, why not gain some draft capital at the trade deadline and turn over the locker room to the next man up (or next men up). If the team is not winning, everything is in question. The league is a ‘win now’ league, thanks to Vegas’ expansion year, so the pressure is always going to be on to win. Even if the realistic expectations should be to go through the development process to sustain long-term success.
The Kraken entered Season 2 without a formal captain, instead appointing multiple players the rotating “A” as an alternate captains. The collective group of Yanni Gourde, Jaden Schwartz, Adam Larsson, and Jordan Eberle formed the team’s leadership group.
A collective captaincy. All players selected by the Kraken in the Expansion Draft.
I like this idea as a team gets the best leadership qualities from a group of players. The aforementioned players all possess traits that are exemplary qualities of a leader. After an incredible season two, and a spectacular playoff run, the time has come for the Kraken to formally announce a captain.
Next season, Matty Beniers and Vince Dunn should be wearing an “A”. Beniers possibly being considered as the next team captain (let’s be real here; eventually he will end up being the team’s longest tenured captain so why not just give him the damn “C” already?). Dunn really took his game to the next level and should be locked up long-term. Both of these guys led this team on the ice, and both of these guys are young players.
Dunn knows how to win (Stanley Cup Champion with the St. Louis Blues in 2019). Beniers is the best player on the team (skill wise) and is probably the highest selling hockey jersey in the Emerald City.
Moving forward and taking the next step the team needs a true captain. I nominate two players; Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle.
Both players are deserving but Schwartz is the most obvious player to don the “C”. During the first round matchup with Colorado, I officially started the “Schwartz for Captain” campaign and I stick by it. Nothing against Eberle at all. In fact Eberle is a fantastic leader.
But so is Schwartz.
What are the qualities that a captain possesses?
I ask my hockey players this every season at the end of training camp. A leader is someone that all of the players on the team look up to. A captain is the player on a team that leads by example and sets the tone for the boys. A captain is a general that other players follow when the game gets tough. I think of Mark Messier when I think of a captain. He might be the greatest leader in sports history, so mentioning Mess as the measuring stick is a tall order.
Nobody in sports history (maybe Tom Brady) is like Mark Messier.
The postseason is the most critical time of the season for players to “show up”. Both Eberle and Schwartz led by example, but it was Schwartz who always seemed to come up big when the Kraken needed him most. He has won a Stanley Cup (also a member of the 2019 St. Louis Blues), and sets the tone in games. No situation was too big for him when it mattered most.
This offseason, it makes sense for the Kraken to officially give Schwartz the title of captain and make his the second player in team history to wear the “C”.
Fear the deep!