It’s been a tumultuous year for the Ottawa Senators.
After a 2012-13 campaign that saw them somehow make the playoffs despite a ridiculous amount of injuries to just about everyone on their roster, they upset the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs and even after their elimination to the Pittsburgh Penguins, seemed like a team set for big things in 2013-14 with a healthy roster and momentum on their side.
And then it all just kind of fell apart.
A poor start and scoring issues led to the Sens missing the playoffs, amassing just 88 points and missing out on the last wild card spot by five points. Then, in the offseason, captain and star center Jason Spezza requested a trade and was subsequently shipped off to the Dallas Stars.
Now, the Sens are left with several questions, least of all being “who should be the next captain of the Ottawa Senators?”
It seems pretty obvious at this point that the answer is none other than the team’s best player, Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson, hands down the game’s best offensive defenseman, dazzled again last year. He led the team in assists (54) and points (74), leading NHL defensemen in the latter and finished second to only Chicago’s Duncan Keith in the former. His 74 points were good enough to place in him the top 15 in NHL scoring, too. Not bad for a guy playing defense.
With all due respect to Chris Phillips, the other logical choice and a former first overall pick who has been with the team since 1996, Karlsson is the obvious answer here for a few reasons. First of all, he’s the team’s best player by a mile. He’s finished either first or second in team scoring every year since 2010-11 (not counting ’12-13 when he missed time with a severed ligament, but somehow made it back in time for the end of the regular season and playoffs) and is the most dynamic offensive defenseman in the game today. And at 24-years-old with five seasons under his belt, he’s got the experience to make the younger crowd listen up while he backs up his message with outstanding play on the ice.
Phillips may only be in the fold for a short while (he’s 36) and the team needs to follow up Jason Spezza with someone the team can get behind for the forseeable future. Karlsson fits that mold and could be the guy to lead the Senators back to the playoffs and well beyond.
The choice is simple, Ottawa: vote Karlsson.