Last season marked the first time that the Red Wings’ full slate of alternate captains was turned over since 2007. Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal took over for the departed Franz Nielsen and Luke Glendening, with Dylan Larkin retaining the captaincy. In 2007, Nicklas Lidstrom ascended to the captaincy to replace the retiring Steve Yzerman while Brendan Shanahan departed, with Kris Draper and Henrik Zetterberg named alternates.
This year will see full turnover again, as Staal is off to the Florida Panthers and DeKeyser is on a try-out with the Vancouver Canucks.
Last year we saw that the two new alternate captains came from a set of players who had worn the “A” throughout the preseason and it’s probably safe to assume the same will happen this year.
Staal and DeKeyser were alternates in every exhibition game they played last year. So were Sam Gagner and Robby Fabbri. Like Staal and DeKeyser, Gagner has since departed the team, having signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets. Fabbri is still in Detroit but is rehabbing from an ACL injury that will see him out of the lineup until January. Given that he seemed to be given consideration last year, we can’t rule out Fabbri getting a letter this time around.
Yesterday saw the Red Wings’ first action of the preseason in which players actually wore letters. In the Red & White Game in Traverse City, Larkin had the “C” as expected while Ben Chiarot, Filip Hronek, Olli Maatta, David Perron, and Michael Rasmussen wore an “A” for their respective teams.
Right off the bat, I think we can rule out Rasmussen. Perron (as much as I’m still working on my dislike of him) is exactly the kind of player I would expect to come onto the team and immediately get a letter. In fact, if you’d asked me for my gut feeling on who would get the “A”s this season coming into camp, I’d have said Tyler Bertuzzi, Andrew Copp, Hronek, and Perron. Bertuzzi and Copp didn’t play due to injury and Hronek and Perron both wore an “A” so maybe there’s something there.
We’ve got eight preseason exhibitions to see if anyone else joins that group, starting tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
Speaking of letters…
There was a surprising change to the “C” and the “A” in the Red & White Game: They’d been shrunk down and moved back to the left side of the chest, off the tip of the wing in the Red Wings’ logo.
Detroit captains had worn their letters in that spot until 2007, when the NHL’s shift to the Reebok Edge jersey template left little room for a letter and it was moved to the right side of the jersey.
This change coming at the same time as many teams are introducing jersey sponsor patches on the right side of the chest could be indicative of the Red Wings’ plan to place a patch there soon, with the “C” and “A” moved to account for that.
That said, it could also be something similar to the preseason player nameplates the team wears, straight with a serifed font instead of the usual vertically-arched lettering, which is supposedly done to make things easier on the equipment staff at a time when the roster is in flux.
I hope it’s the latter as, in my opinion, that letter placement looks awful. I’d advocated for it in the past but seeing it executed makes me realize I was wrong.
A jersey ad for the Red Wings is inevitable but NHL guidelines allow it to be placed on either the left or right chest, or either shoulder, so there’s no need to do this to the “C” and “A” to make room.