Todd McLellan, entering his first season as Edmonton Oilers coach, isn't in a rush to decide whether to keep veteran defenseman Andrew Ference as captain or go with a younger player who will get more ice time.
"It's virtually impossible for me as an individual to make a call on the leadership group and tactics that are in play here right now because I have not experienced the team as a whole," McLellan said Thursday on CHED-AM 630. "I haven't experienced a lot of the individuals, the way they carry themselves, the way they react in certain situations. Are they verbal leaders? Are they physical leaders? Are they both? How do they react in successful situations? How do they react to failure? How do they interact with their teammates? I can't answer any of those questions as a coach right now."
Ference has been captain each of his two seasons in Edmonton. The 36-year-old averaged 18:52 of ice time in 70 games last season, 10th on the Oilers, but likely will be a third-pair defenseman in 2015-16.