It’s the time of the NHL season where writers like to talk about what we’ve learned about teams. Enough games have been played to give a somewhat-representative data sample. I very well might do the same but that’s not the direction I’m going right now.
Instead, I’m looking at the Red Wings’ alternate captaincy rotation.
To start the season, Detroit head coach Derek Lalonde said that the team would not formally name new alternate captains to replace the departed Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal. At the time, I said that they may not have a press conference, but that we could probably tell who the informal alternates would be based on preseason usage.
Ben Chiarot and David Perron wore the “A” more than any other players through the preseason. Notably, they were the only two players to never play a game without wearing a letter. This led me to believe that they were front-runners for the informal alternate captaincies.
Additionally, my gut feeling was that Andrew Copp was the kind of player who would get a letter, but he missed the entire preseason so there was no data to work with.
The preseason also saw the now-injured Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina wear the “A” at least once each, as well as Michael Rasmussen, Olli Maatta, Filip Hronek, Adam Erne, and Jordan Oesterle.
The group that’s worn the “A” through 13 regular season games is much smaller.
Rasmussen did get one game as an alternate, the Red Wings’ fourth game of the season in Chicago.
Moritz Seider, who did not wear a letter at all in the preseason, wore an “A” in New Jersey for Detroit’s second game of the season.
Every other game has featured some combination of Chiarot, Perron, and Copp as alternates. Chiarot leads the way, having worn the “A” nine times. Perron has been an alternate eight times while Copp has had the letter in seven games.
No one outside of this group has been an alternate for the last nine games.
I think this makes it pretty clear that, whatever Lalonde said about not naming alternates, those three players are it.