The Laval Rocket are a little over a month away from taking the ice for the first time in team history. It will be a momentous occasion and one that will bring plenty of eyes to the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL team.
Last year in St. John’s, Max Friberg was chosen as the captain, and was a great leader for the team with his two-way play serving as a good example to some of the younger prospects. He played an integral role in getting the IceCaps to the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Friberg’s decision to return home to Sweden for the 2017-18 campaign left the AHL team without a captain, making the leadership of the minor-league club something to be determined ahead of its first season in Laval.
In the past it hasn’t been unusual for teams to not have a captain and go with several alternates instead. In fact, the Canadiens did this for a full season recently before Max Pacioretty was awarded the C by his teammates.
It’s possible that will be the approach taken in Laval, though there are some quality candidates who could be chosen as the team’s leader.
Terry came to the organization last season during free agency, and despite a decent handful of games in the NHL, he established himself as a premier AHL sniper. In just 58 games he scored 30 goals and notched 68 points, both of which stand at St. John’s IceCaps records.
He wore an A for the IceCaps, and is now one of the elder statesmen of the team despite being just 28 years old. Terry has more than paid his dues in the AHL, and with his scoring prowess he’d be an excellent captain to guide younger prospects like Daniel Audette and Nikita Scherbak in the coming season.
Taormina was part of Montreal’s off-season plan to immediately bolster the new Laval roster. He is a well-established AHL blue-liner, and is coming off a year in which he registered 60 points and won the Eddie Shore Award as the league’s best defencemen.
He’s been entrusted with an A for the last three seasons, including two for the Syracuse Crunch and one for the Worcester Sharks. At 30 years of age, Taormina has a good deal of experience, especially at the AHL level where he’s spent most of his career.
He’s going to be counted on as a guide for the two young prospects making their pro debuts: Noah Juulsen and Simon Bourque. Despite not being the most vocal of players, his experience likely makes him the top choice for the captaincy as he has always played as a true professional.
Jacob de la Rose
Unlike both Terry and Taormina, de la Rose is still a young prospect in the Montreal system, but since coming to North America has become a favourite of his coaches almost immediately. He has been leaned on heavily in the AHL to be the team’s go-to forward in all situations. While not being overly impressive on the offensive side of the puck, the young Swede is a good defensive player and will likely once again feature prominently on special teams this year.
In the two seasons the AHL affiliate spent in St. John’s, de la Rose wore an A, so it wouldn’t be too far outside the realm of possibility to see him replace Friberg.
The forgotten man in Montreal is the final player that could represent the Rocket proudly with the captain’s letter. Despite a tough, injury-plagued year, Redmond was a driving force on the IceCaps’ blue line as they made a late-season playoff push.
Much like Terry and Taormina, Redmond has spent much of his career bouncing between NHL stints, and long stretches in the AHL for various clubs. He’s an outstanding player, and can guide the new prospects in their first year, while also playing major minutes like he did in the previous season.
The final option for the Rocket to choose from is to not have a captain for their first year, and instead operate with three or four players sharing the load as alternate captains. Montreal did this with Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, and Tomas Plekanec, and it could very well be the right answer in the AHL as well.
The four players profiled above represent the ideal qualities of Montreal Canadiens leaders: they work hard every night, are consummate professionals, and have plenty of experience to share with younger players.
There’s no guarantee that these are the players who get selected to wear a letter, but the Canadiens would be remiss to ignore their potential contributions and leadership abilities.
Who should wear the C for the Laval Rocket?
This poll is closed
Jacob de la Rose
Other (tell us in the comments!)