If there's a vacancy, who should be the Predators' next captain?

Due to The Great Flood, I was temporarily displaced. Apologies all around for the tardiness, and here is part two of my thoughts on the state of the Predators' captaincy. Part one can be found here. 

Last week two weeks ago In April we discussed the question of whether or not Jason Arnott should be relieved of his captain's duties and make way for someone more comfortable with the job. The poll results were heavily tilted in favor of doing so, and its due to that, then, that we ask the next logical question - who should take over? 

After the jump, pros and cons to the four most feasible candidates. 

The Likely Candidates 

Steve Sullivan

#26 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators

5-9

173

Jul 06, 1974

Contract: 1 year remaining at $3,500,000

Misc.: played all 82 games in 2009-10, and wore one of the 'A's for Barry Trotz

Why: Perhaps the most dedicated player on the team (evidenced by his Masterton Trophy win), Sully has long been a fan favorite. The last guy to take a shift off, he'll bust it whether up 3-0 or down 0-3. Sullivan makes a great interview and unlike Jason Arnott, has never won a Cup. There's no doubt he'd like some hardware before he hangs 'em up.

Why not: With just the one year left on his deal, its doubtful that Sullivan gets re-signed, and probable that he retires. If you appointed Sully captain, its likely we'd be going over the same debate this time next year. 

David Legwand

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

202

Aug 17, 1980

Contract: 4 years remaining at $4,500,000

Misc.: went a stretch of over two months without scoring a goal in 09-10

Why: The Predators' first ever draft pick (no. 2 overall, 1998), Legwand leads the franchise in all time points (369), goals (142), assists (228), and games played (622). In a sense, 'Leggy' is the Nashville Predators. He plays defensively responsible hockey and works hard whether slumping or streaking. Barry Trotz trusts David Legwand perhaps more than any other forward. His contract runs for 4 more years, so losing him to free agency or trade isn't a concern.

Why not: On the other hand, Legwand is prone to go through massive slumps (remember the Legwand-O-Meter?). He's one of Nashville's quietest players, and isn't often seen giving an encouraging word or interview. David draws the ire of many a fan and even general manager David Poile on occasion when he's not producing up to his capabilities. Perhaps giving the 'C' to one of the team's more egregious under performers isn't such a good idea.

Shea Weber

#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-4

230

Aug 14, 1985

Contract: one year left at $4,500,000

Misc: Wears the other 'A' for the Predators, and is typically considered one of two of the franchise's  cornerstones 

Why: NHL All-Star. All-Olympic team. 2nd in the NHL for goals by a defenseman in 2009, same in 2008. Capable of doling out crushing checks along with that 104 mph slap shot, Shea Weber is truly the complete package. Widely (and accurately) considered Nashville's best player, Weber boasts nearly every quality you'd want in a captain. He's vocal, a good influence through his hard work, solid with the younger players (Cody Franson was housed at Shea's home during Thanksgiving), and is probably Nashville's most well known player outside of the city. 

Why not: I'll let you know when I think of something.

Seriously, though, his contractual status is the only thing that would keep me from slapping that letter on him for now and all time. This will be the final year of a deal that already pays him $4.5 million, and as one of the league's five best young defensemen already and rising, that number is only going to go up. I'm assuming that the Predators will keep their franchise player, but adding 'captain' to his resume is only gonna push that salary higher. 

Ryan Suter

#20 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-1

194

Jan 21, 1985

Contract: 2 years remaining at $3,500,000

Misc: almost exclusively received alternate captain duties when Jason Arnott went down; and is the 2nd piece to the franchise's building blocks

Why: Ryan Suter is nothing if not consistent. Though not the flashy player his defense partner is, Suter is possibly just as talented. He led the Predators in TOI by a defenseman this year, and its no fluke. The American Olympian is equal parts durable and effective for coach Barry Trotz. In addition to assuming some alternate captain's duties for Nashville, he wore the 'A' for the United States in the Olympics.

Why not: I'd probably be just as okay with Suter becoming captain as I would Weber, especially considering their respective contractual situations. It becomes a matter of opinion at that point, and I don't really think of Suter as being at Weber's intensity level 100% of the time. 

Another thing

Dan Hamhuis would be a perfectly legitimate fifth option, and one John Glennon threw out there, but until he's given another contract (a big if right now), he can't be used.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, my choice would probably be Weber for a combination of reasons. He's Nashville's best player, and combines vocal leadership with an exemplary work ethic thats vaulted him to some elite NHL company. 

What do you think, though? Should the Predators even consider a captaincy change? Should they give it to Sullivan, Legwand, Weber, Suter, or someone not mentioned? Sound off in the poll and comments below.

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