Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar announced after practice on Thursday the team's alternate captains for the 2016-17 season.
Serving under team captain Gabriel Landeskog for the new campaign are defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon.
"We've been evaluating that all the way through training camp. We've had a lot of good conversations with the guys that have been around here--coaching staff, management--and we've come to a decision," Bednar said. "Obviously, Gabe is our captain, and we feel that Beauchemin is a guy we want to have a letter on all the time."
Beauchemin, who was an alternate captain with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2014-15 season, is a dependable 12-year NHL veteran that has experienced plenty during his days in the league, which includes winning a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2006-07.
Video: Bednar announces lines and captains
"He's a guy that all the guys, both old and young in our room, look to and lean on for advice," Bednar said. "He's sort of that stabilizing presence in our room."
While Beauchemin will have a letter on his sweater all season, Duchene and MacKinnon will rotate as alternates.
"We're going to alternate the other 'A'-home and road-between MacKinnon and Duchene. I think the best way to do that for us, so we're not changing jerseys every night and so it's not the whole course of the season, is we'll probably do it month-by-month," said Bednar. "So Duchene will wear it at home to start for this month and MacKinnon on the road. And then next month, we'll just flip it, and then so on through the course of the season."
When it came to putting letters on 25-year-old Duchene and 21-year-old MacKinnon, Bednar admitted that the team already depends on them on the ice.
"They're both guys that are anxious and eager to take their games to the next level, and we're already relying on them heavily on a nightly basis to help us win," he said. "So the added responsibility I think is going to be good for them and good for our team."
Duchene last served as an alternate for the Brampton Battalion during the 2008-09 campaign, prior to being selected third overall by the Avalanche at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. MacKinnon was also an alternate captain during his final season (2012-13) with the Halifax Mooseheads, prior to his first overall selection at the 2013 draft.
Landeskog is entering his fifth season as Colorado's captain after being named to the role on Sept. 4, 2012. At the time, he was the youngest such player in NHL history (19 years, 286 days), but he was recently supplanted by Edmonton Oilers sophomore Connor McDavid (19 years, 266 days).
Beauchemin and Duchene will join Landeskog with additional patches on the fronts of their jerseys when the puck drops for Opening Night on Saturday when the Avs take on the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center.
*Coming to Opening Night? With construction going on in and around the arena, including the closure of 12th Street, we anticipate increased travel times. Please make sure to leave early and give yourself plenty of time to arrive. Plan accordingly so you don't miss a minute of the excitement. The game starts at 7 p.m. as we look forward to the #NextEra of Colorado Avalanche hockey.