Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle announced today that defenseman Chris Pronger will take over as captain, with last year’s captain Scott Niedermayer still mulling retirement.
“The coaching staff and management had a discussion and ultimately it was left up to us, the coaches, to make that decision and we made it through consultation through the last 48 hours,” Carlyle said. “We came to the conclusion that we thought Chris Pronger would be best suited to fit the captaincy role.”
Carlyle also announced that Rob Niedermayer would again be an alternate captain and Chris Kunitz would also be an alternate captain for the first time with the Ducks. “Rob Niedermayer was an [alternate] last year and did a fine job, and we thought it was important to involve our younger players in the leadership role. Chris Kunitz fit that role.”
Said Pronger, “It’s a tremendous honor. I’m following an excellent leader in Scotty and I’m certainly trying to build on what he’s done the last couple of years, things we’ve accomplished as a group and as a team. I’m just going to pick up where he left off and use the other leaders we have in the room to further develop as a group and try to repeat or play as well as we can.”
Pronger first became a captain in the NHL as a 23-year-old in St. Louis, and said that he would approach it differently this time. “Certainly I will,” Pronger said. “I was a little wet behind the ears then and now I have more experience in this league and more experience with this team.”
Carlyle acknowledged that several Ducks veterans could have fit any of the three captain role, but “we don’t just rely on these three individuals. Some are more noteworthy in the sense they have more experience, like Todd Marchant. It wasn’t like we passed Todd Marchant over. We just felt that he didn’t need the letter to establish his leadership role. We feel it can spread out through our whole hockey club.”