Nov. 24, 2010: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Bryan McCabe (24) during the second period against the Boston Bruins at the BankAtlantic Center. Bruins won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Election Year: Who Will Be The Panthers' Captain in 2012?

‘The “captain” designation is a special thing in the NHL. Wearing the “C” not only designates team leadership but gives the franchise a face and I rallying point. The Florida Panthers went last season without a captain while first-year coach Kevin Dineen sorted out who would be the leaders in the room.

March 23 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss (9) warms up before a game against the Edmonton Oilers at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Stephen Weiss could probably make the best case to be named team captain next year. Weiss ranked second on the team last year in total points. His skill with the puck doesn’t seem to have diminished in the presence of his new line mates. Weiss has delivered consistent production over his ten-year career with the Panthers and is a leader both on and off the ice.

February 25, 2012; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Tomas Fleischmann (14) against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC center. The Panthers defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE

Tomas Fleischmann has a good chance to receive captain’s honors next season if coach Dineen’s decision is based on performance on the ice. Last season Fleischmann led the team in total points and (61) and goals (27). Fleischmann is a new face to the Panthers but is no stranger to the NHL. This seven-year league veteran proved himself to the coaches and fans with his exemplary play last season.

April 1, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell (51) skates with the puck against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Brian Campbell would be another good choice to wear the “C” next season.  Defensemen often get overlooked as team leaders but Campbell would be an obvious choice because if his high amount of time on the ice and his superb play. Last season Campbell led the team in assists (49) and was an anchor on the Cat’s back-end. Campbell also won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy last season, which is awarded to the player in the NHL with the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly qualities.

The Cats have largely been without a captain since the departure of Olli Jokinen who led the team from 2003 to 2008. Bryan McCabe took his turn from 2009 to 2011 but there have been gaps in between. This honor is important not only for the integrity of the team but also for the fans. At a time when free agency redraws depth charts on a yearly basis it’s important for fans to be able to get behind a guy who they know will be there for the team each and every season.

 

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Tags: Brian Campbell Captain Florida Panthers Stephen Weiss Tomas Fleischmann

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