Apr 21, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) and right wing Martin St. Louis (26) talk during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Who Should Be the Next Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Unfortunately, when a position is vacated, it leaves a hole where there used to be a leader. Now, there is a huge hole in the Lightning where former Lightning Captain Vincent Lecavalier used to be. This leaves us with the burning question, who should be the next Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

There are many players on the team that are qualified to wear the C on their jersey; however, at this point, I feel like there are only two of them who should truly be considered for the position; center Steven Stamkos and RW Martin St. Louis.

We’ll start off with Stamkos.

Since making his debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stamkos has been a force to be reckoned with on the ice. He has scored no fewer than 46 points per season since the very beginning. His numbers have only gotten better since then.

I think that Stamkos really understands what it takes to be the focal point of the team. He has essentially been the face of the team for a few years now, gracing hundreds of billboards, advertisements, and TV commercials.

Even though Stamkos did evaluate his options when his Free Agent status was up, I think the fans, the Lightning organization, and most importantly, the players, know that he is in this for the long haul with the Lightning.

Right now, we have Stamkos on lock until he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent at the beginning of the 2016-17 season. I have no doubt in my mind that unless something drastic changes in his play, the Lightning are going to do everything that can to secure him staying in Lightning blue for many years to come.

He has a great Hockey IQ. He knows how to make a play happen and there is no doubt he can find the back of the net.

While I think that Stamkos would make an incredible captain, I feel like it isn’t quite his time just yet. Why, you may ask? Two words…Martin St. Louis.

If you look up heart and soul in the dictionary, you will find a picture of the Lightning right winger. He has been as such for the Lightning for many, many years.

Number 26 has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2000. This means that he has spent 12 seasons in Lightning blue, 13 if you count the NHL Lockout of 2004-05.

In that time, he has amassed 336 goals and 556 assists for a total of 892 points during 910 games in a Lightning jersey during the regular season.

In an older version of Inside the Lightning, they took a closer look at his off-season training ritual. During the interview, Marty tells us about his definition of hard work.

What’s hard work? People have a different definition of hard work. You’ll ask 10 people ‘What’s hard work?’, they’ll all have a different answer. For me, I want to make sure that my hard work definition is harder than the other 9 that you’ve asked. And I think that’s why I became the player I am today, and why I am going to try to stay the player I am for as long as I can.”

This is exactly the kind of work ethic we need from a Captain.

Marty has been with the team through its worst times, and he has won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning. His experience at both extremes in the same environment, and still managing to persevere is what I think makes him the heart and soul of the team, and why he should ultimately be the next captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman talked to the guys over at NHL Live just last week about some of the different hot button issues out there right now, one of which is the captaincy.

We’ll get a chance, Jon Cooper and myself, to sit down and talk about it. We have talked about it a little bit.” Yzerman said. “It’ll be our intention, probably, to wait until Training Camp at some point, whether it’s the beginning or end of camp, to make that final decision. We’ll give it a couple of months and be ready to go with that decision in September.”

If I was Yzerman, and thankfully I’m not, but if I was…I would without a doubt in my mind hand the reins over to Martin St. Louis for as long as he decides he wants to continue to lace up his skates. Upon Marty’s retirement, which most likely will unfortunately come a lot sooner than I am willing to admit, pass the C off to Steven Stamkos to carry the team into the future.

Who do you think should be the next captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!


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