Four years from now, when Andrew Ference's contract is expiring and he's entering the sunset of a successful NHL career, the Edmonton Oilers should have a desirable list of candidates to be their next captain as long as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pay attention the way John Tavares did on Long Island for the past two seasons.
Tavares noticed Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins' choice of Ference as captain over Hall, Eberle, Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins. He nods in approval because he understands what a few extra years can mean to a young player with the potential to be a superstar and the pressure to turn into a leader.
Tavares could have been named the Islanders captain two years ago, when he signed his six-year contract extension, but he wasn't ready for the responsibility. The Islanders instead stitched a "C" on Mark Streit's sweater and gave Tavares the "A".