ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues named the five players that will represent the leadership group for the 2016-17 season during a press conference Thursday afternoon at Scottrade Center.
Alex Pietrangelo was named the 21st captain in Blues history. Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk will serve as assistant captains.
“Ken (Hitchcock) and I talked about that, and we brought (Associate Coach) Mike Yeo into the equation to get his thought process,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “What you're looking for in assistant captains is a lot of the same characteristics we look for in a captain.”
“You only give a ‘C’ or ‘A’ to players if you think they can handle it,” Armstrong added. “Just because you’re a good player doesn’t make you a good leader. For some people, it’s a burden to wear a letter. We think these guys are the leaders of the team. They want to pull everyone together and that’s going to be their responsibility.
Here’s what Armstrong had to say about why each captain was chosen:
On Pietrangelo: “He touches every facet of our team: power play, penalty kill, shutting games down, trying to score at the end of the game. He’s just an elite player. When his name comes up for Team Canada (in international tournaments), he’s a lock when I talk to Mike Babcock and coaches around the League. He’s viewed as a top player. We’re certainly lucky to have him, and when you add the character - I think he’s going to be a great captain for the Blues.”
On Steen: “Alexander Steen has been an assistant captain and probably is our most complete two-way player, so it was natural for him to continue down that path.”
On Stastny: “I thought something clicked in early October where Paul got extremely comfortable here and I thought he was one of our better players, and a very good player for us in the playoffs. I’m really excited to have him and his leadership. He went through growing pains in Colorado and now he’s on a team that’s pushing. We got closer to our ultimate goal but not close enough, so he’s excited about helping us get there. He’s another guy that has a good feel for the temperature of the team.”
On Tarasenko: “Vladimir Tarasenko is someone just coming into his own now. We know what he can do on the ice, but now his responsibility is to pull players along and make sure he’s doing everything that’s right for the team. It’s a leadership thing I know he’s excited about.”
On Shattenkirk: “Kevin Shattenkirk has been a captain all the way through up until the NHL, and I think he’s just a natural fit for us as an assistant captain. He’s got great communication skills with his teammates, great communication skills with the coaching staff. He’s a guy we really rely on.”