Who Should Wear The 'C' For The Montreal Canadiens In 2022?

The Montreal Canadiens have such a rich history, one that matches any sports franchise in the world, including some of the most legendary players in the history of the sport representing Montreal with a 'C' on their chest. The past two captains in Max Pacioretty and Shea Weber have both been traded to Vegas, leaving Montreal without a captain for the upcoming season. General Manager Kent Hughes has declared that there will be a new captain in 2022/23, so what are his best options?

Firstly, Montreal have to decide where this young team is headed, and whether they'd like a veteran to lead this young, talented group, or whether they'd prefer a young captain to grow with this team into the future as they rebuild. There are plenty of options to fit both bills, so lets take a look at the options.

There's Brendon Gallagher, who was drafted by Montreal in 2010, and has been with the franchise ever since, putting up 194 goals and 187 assists for 381 points, making him the longest tenured Canadien, if you don't count Carey Price, who will be out for the entire season. Gallagher wore an 'A' in 2021, and is the natural choice to be the next captain, as he's under contract for a further 3 year, the decision however rests on how young Montreal want to go with their next captain. 

Along that same line of thinking, Paul Byron is certainly a solid, however not sexy option, as he's been a steady hand within the Canadiens organization ever since being acquired by Montreal back in 2015. With the additions of Kirby Dach and Evgeni Dadanov, Byron has likely been pushed permanently to the fourth line, so it's certainly not the best options for Habs fans, but would be a solid move, as Byron is well liked inside the locker room. 

The other likely option is 23-year old first line centre Nick Suzuki, who is closer to the age of future stars on this team like Cole Caufield and 2022 first overall draft pick, Juraj Slafkovsky. Suzuki is seen as a future leader of this team, wearing an 'A' also in 2021, and with the youth infusion Montreal will see when all of their prospects get to the NHL, he could be a great option as they look to build a winner going forward. One of the biggest points in his favour is that he is signed all the way through until 2029/30, and if Montreal have long-term success in mind, this move certainly wouldn't shock anyone.

Ultimately, this decision is going to come down to whether the Canadiens want to go with youth or experience, and if that's the case, Gallagher and Suzuki should be the final two, with eventually, Suzuki getting the nod as the next captain of the famed Montreal Canadiens. 

Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports