When considering the Blackhawks continuously aging core, a considerable amount of depressing thoughts come to mind. People may question whether or not they’ll be the same player again, if (or when) they’ll be traded, and countless other less-than-happy ideas. However, one that isn’t as unfortunate is who will take over the Alternate Captain role once Brent Seabrook ages out.
In the first edition of this series, it was decided that Jonathan Toews will most likely be a Chicago Blackhawk for life. And, given he’s reached his tenth year of captaincy, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be the guy wearing the “C” on his chest until he retires (presumably as a Blackhawk).
While that is a lock moving forward, what isn’t is who is most likely to earn a spot as the next alternate captain once Seabrook’s (and eventually Duncan Keith’s) time in Chicago ends.
The first of these candidates is Alex DeBrincat. When Seabs’ time in Chicago is over, DeBrincat will be in a similar position as Patrick Sharp was when he took over as an alternate captain back before the 2008 season. Their situations are similar enough already, and it doesn’t hurt that Sharp was a very strong role model to DeBrincat last season.
Alex DeBrincat was the first of a few possibilities (story). The second candidate is another youngster who was a bright spot on a team which had very few in the 2017-18 season. His name is Nick Schmaltz. Though DeBrincat put up better scoring statistics last season, Schmaltz seems to have leadership qualities which just might earn him an A down the road (story).
There is, in my humble opinion, one more player from last years roster who looks like a lock to earn himself a role as an alternate captain in the future.
Though if Toews is traded or decides to retire early, that C certainly doesn’t look too shabby on No. 88.
Patrick Kane’s Future
In my mind, there are two ways in which Patrick Kane’s career pans out. Realistically, both of these things will happen and will ultimately form just a single, drawn out story which makes up the end of Patrick’s career.
The first path which Kane’s career could take is the most enjoyable for Blackhawks fans. In this first scenario, Patrick wears the red sweater for life and goes down in history as one of the greatest Chicago Blackhawks ever (though it’s worth noting he will be in that conversation regardless of whether or not he leaves in the future).
In the second path, Patrick Kane becomes Jaromir Jagr 2.0 and playes hockey for a number of teams until his body physically cannot take it anymore. This might be a sad thought for Blackhawks fans who want to see Kane be a “lifer” and retire as a ‘Hawk years from now.
That being said, it’s hard to deny how much fun it would be to watch a 38 year-old Patrick Kane continue to make unreal plays with the puck, mullet and all.
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Realistically, these two paths will probably merge into one as Patrick Kane will be with the Blackhawks for as long as they are willing to keep him around. However, business is business and it wouldn’t be unsurprising if the Blackhawks and Kane have to part some day because of one reason or another.
So, assuming Kane’s time with the Blackhawks is far from over (which is very, very likely), it’s a safe bet he’ll be around when the next alternate captains are chosen.