Seemingly most New Jersey Devils fans pegged Ilya Kovalchuk to be the captain over the last few weeks, however, Bryce Salvador was handed the role on Thursday. The following are a few takes from the Devils Insiders staff regarding the decision.
By Trevor Jahnke
The captaincy of the Devils was the subject of some debate amongst fans. Sal has always been at the top of my list mainly because he’s been acknowledged as the leader in the locker room. So I figure if he’s a leader behind the scenes, might as well make him the leader on the ice. Great choice by head coach Pete DeBoer. I think the fact that just two years ago he missed the entire season due to his concussion makes this a terrific story. Now I have to keep an eye out for a Captain Salvador jersey.
By Dave Turner
I understand the “Kovalchuk being here for practically forever” thought process, but I think this is the right choice. It has long been reported that Salvador was a guy who was very well liked and respected in the locker room and a warrior on the ice.
He doesn’t put up points and a lot of his contributions go unnoticed, but this guy is as steady as a defensive-minded defenseman that you’ll find in the entire league.
Salvador also used to be the kind of guy that would step up and fight if one of his teammates took a bad shot; a sign of a leader. Not to mention No. 24 would make quick work of his opponent.
Although you won’t see him fighting anymore due to his prior concussion, he still knows how to throw around his 6’3’’, 215-lb frame on the ice.
With a guy who plays as hard as he does, the players will listen.
Speak softly and carry a big stick. That’s Bryce Salvador.
By Jeff O’Connor
After Travis Zajac received his extension Wednesday, I thought for sure that meant the captaincy would go to him, or Ilya Kovalchuk. That way, DeBoer wouldn’t have to worry about who would be the “chosen leader” of the club in a few seasons. Instead, he has selected Bryce Salvador, whose contract runs out in three years.
This means Devils fans and local media get to have this debate/argument/nonsense again before the 2015-16 season. Great.
I admit I had doubts whether or not Kovalchuk would feel angry or snubbed if not elected captain. However, those thoughts have mostly drifted away after he said all the right things to reporters at the conclusion of practice on Thursday.
As for Salvador, he won’t feel any added pressure with this role. He is extremely even keeled. There’s not much Salvador can’t do in terms of game situation and style of play. He can play against a speedy first line, or grind it out against a big-bodied third line. He can effectively defend in front of the crease on the penalty kill and he holds the back line well when on the power play. He can slam an opponent into the board and aggressively block a shot. He can also position soundly in his own zone, sit back and poke check.
For Salvador, he’s an all-around talent. I find myself yelling at Marek Zidlicky for not being physical enough. I get frustrated with Henrik Tallinder for not being aggressive at either end of the ice, to go along with other complaints about the defense corps. For Bryce, however, I rarely, if ever, get on him. He is simply “old reliable”.
Here’s to hoping that “old reliable” plays like a spring chicken for the next three years. You know the heart, desire and leadership will all be there. As long as he keeps his legs underneath him, this will turn out to be a fine choice for captain after all.
By Ryan Jahnke
I am very happy to hear that Bryce Salvador is the new captain. He is a player that is always one of the first players on the ice, and the last off. He is a leader in the locker room and leads by example on the ice. As a hockey man, it’s great to see a league veteran and hard worker like him earn such an honored position. As a fan, it’s even better to see a man come back from a concussion that cost him a full season of his career, to such incredible success. Congratulations Sal! I know you’ll do the Devils proud.