There’s yet to be any official announcement, but every indication is that the Vancouver Canucks will be naming the 12th captain in team history—or 14th if you count Dan Quinn and Doug Lidster as “tri-captains” with Trevor Linden in 1990/91—sometime before the start of the 2019/20 season. But who will it be?
In this series, CanucksArmy will be taking a good look at all the serious candidates for the job—and making the best possible arguments for each of them in turn.
It’s important to note that none of these articles represent the actual opinion of this author or the other writers on CanucksArmy. In other words, just because you’re reading an article entitled “Why Troy Stecher Should Be Captain Of The Vancouver Canucks” it doesn’t mean we actually believe Stecher should be captain of the Vancouver Canucks—we’re just engaging in the mental exercise of advocating for him as a captaincy candidate.
Don’t worry—this author has a fairly inflexible opinion on who should actually wear the “C,” and this series will conclude with a three-part PR campaign for that individual. For now, however, there are several other players that are worthy of your consideration.
The Dark Horse
Realistically, we could have limited this series to just Alex Edler, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Bo Horvat—as the chances of anyone else being named the Vancouver Canucks’ next captain are incredibly slim. Still, every self-respecting list has to have a dark horse candidate or two on it, and so we’ve arrived at our own dark horse for the Canucks’ captaincy—Troy Stecher.
Taken out of the context of his more-deserving teammates, Stecher actually looks like a fine candidate for the job. At 25 years old, Stecher is rapidly climbing up the seniority ranks on the Canucks’ blueline—and he’ll be right near the top if Alex Edler and Chris Tanev move on at some point in the next year. With Quinn Hughes, Olli Juolevi, and Jett Woo all scheduled to join the defense corps in the next couple of seasons, it might be nice to have an established leader already stationed on the blueline—and Stecher should be there for years to come.
We won’t try to hide that the primary reason we’re discussing Troy Stecher’s candidacy for the captaincy of the Vancouver Canucks is his birthplace. There’s a reason he’s frequently referred to as “Troy from Richmond,” and it’s because he’s a local talent that this marketplace has become immensely proud of.
In their nigh-50 years of existence, the Canucks have never had a BC-born captain. The franchise has had captains from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and three from Alberta—but never has a British Columbian wore the “C” in Vancouver.
Every other Canadian NHL team has enjoyed this luxury. The Calgary Flames were led by St. Albert’s Jarome Iginla for nearly a decade, and the Edmonton Oilers were captained by some other douchebag from St. Albert at one point, too. The Senators, Maple Leafs, and Canadiens have been helmed by too many locals to count.
Even the Winnipeg Jets have had two Manitoban captains in their history—although both of them wore the “C” during the Jets’ WHA days.
We’re not saying that Troy Stecher should be named as the captain of the Vancouver Canucks just because he’s from British Columbia—otherwise, we’d have to start talking about Captain Jake Virtanen, too.
But Stecher’s BC roots certainly give his captaincy profile a boost, an ensures that the local fanbase would celebrate his being named captain of the team—or at least they would, if not for the presence of a few more deserving candidates.
A Willful Example
If the final season of Game of Thrones taught us anything—aside from the pain of disappointment, with which Vancouver fans were already intimately familiar—it’s that the best leaders are those with the best personal stories.
And few Canucks have better stories than Troy Stecher.
Undrafted, unnoticed, and undersized, played three full seasons in the BCHL and three more with the University of North Dakota before finally garnering NHL interest at the age of 22. As an undrafted NCAA defenseman, Stecher was expected to marinate in the minors for a while before getting a serious look at the big league—but he played just four games with the Utica Comets before establishing himself as a permanent member of the Canucks’ blueline.
Stecher’s NHL origins are far from typical—and it’s safe to say that he’s brought himself into the league largely on the force of his will. Stecher has had to work hard for every opportunity he’s ever received—and the progression he’s shown through three NHL seasons is proof plenty that he’s continuing to put in the necessary effort. That makes him an excellent example for young players to follow, and that qualifies him as a team leader.
Of course, what did Troy from Richmond do after making it to the big leagues and improbably establishing himself as a top-four defender? He signed a team-friendly bridge contract with an average cap hit of just $2.325 million. In taking a literal hometown discount, Stecher proved himself as an individual who will put his franchise first—and Jim Benning and Co. certainly hope that, if nothing else, incoming young players will follow Stecher’s example when it comes to financial demands.
Since we’re pretty much out of material on Stecher—and since we’re on the verge of that big three-parter on the actual best candidate for captain of the Vancouver Canucks—it’s time to take a brief look at all the other candidates who could feasibly wear the “C.”
Jay Beagle- He’s a respected veteran with an unparalleled work ethic and Stanley Cup experience—but he doesn’t play an important enough role on the team to justify the captaincy.
Loui Eriksson- If Jim Benning is looking to get run out of town early, naming Eriksson as team captain is definitely the way to go.
Quinn Hughes- It’s way too early to make a call on Hughes’ worthiness as a team captain, but few would be surprised if he eventually developed into the blueline’s de facto leader.
Jacob Markstrom- Let’s not go down this road again.
Antoine Roussel- His leadership qualities are underrated, and he could perhaps be a candidate to wear an “A” in the long-term—but Roussel spends way too much time in the box to ever be named captain.
Brandon Sutter- With any luck, Sutter won’t be around long enough to be considered for the captaincy.
Chris Tanev- This is a player who is at his best when he’s not being noticed, and wearing the “C” would definitely clash with his established style. He’s also probably on his way out in the near future.