I am one who looks from the outside when I follow the NHL circus from the other side of the Atlantic sea. To be more precise I try to watch as much as I can even thou the games start in the middle of the night when you live in Sweden and have a full time job.
One concept that is a bit fascinating are the idea of a team or a franchise having one of their own so called “franchise player” or maybe two if they lucky.
I though that I would give my view on what it should mean and who is actually worthy of that brand as a player.
What should the concept incorporate?
rnFor me the concept of being the face of the franchise must mean you are the one who day out and day in (more that less) is the best player. A top point guy, the wall on who the team can lean on when they feel they lost direction. Someone who by him self hates loosing more that the rest or the team all together and can express that in a way that makes other people follow.
Therefore I would not give the “franchise”-emblem to some of the players that in a way maybe would figurate as often in this category.
My thought was that there are some teams that really have that kind of true figurehead in their locker room.
The teams that have the spearhead are:
Red wings – H Zetterberg – he is just the “It” and the new “C” on his chest shows it.
The Pens – S Crosby – A machine and in many ways just to good to handle.
Sharks – J Thornton – Don’t get the credit that he deserves he is the Sharks engine.
Rangers – H Lundqvist – Has the same stubbornness as Forsberg, just hates losing.
Coyotes – S Doan – I like his “this is not over yet” attitude.
Canucks – H Sedin – Less talkative but worthy material – show the way the right way.
Hawks – J Toews – In my world just a top captain – he is maybe a little bit down the point chart.
Devils – M Brodeur – I say no more of him that has not been said.
Senators – D Alfredsson – He is the franchise, even thou now a bit less productive.
Considerations: C Giroux, J Iginla (he is on the down but was a sure shot a few years ago).
The ones playing second fiddle:
Capitals – A Ovechkin - He does not drag the team and he has gone backward for couple of years now.
Predators – S Weber - Huge in many ways but not as good as he should be to go up a list.
Rangers – R Nash - nterensting to see what NY can get our of this guy.
Canucks – R Kesler - The “wrestler Kesler” – but not there everyday – still a go to guy.
Hurricanes – E Staal - Best on his team but still not the pillar like others around the league.
Lightning – M St Louis - He is character through and through – can disappear sometimes.
Bruins – Z Chara - Pillar yes, but for me more intimidating than super, he is not Lidstrom.
Ducks – T Selänne - I have such a respect for this players work. He racks it up in such a class.
In my opinion good and great players but far from franchise players when you consider the big picture are the likes of: Kopitar, Vanek, Parise, Malkin, M Koivu, M Richardsm, B Richard etc.
Who does it in the future then?
I do see as should be obvious that Toews, Giroux goes on and dominate and I really like what I see from Tavares. He’s seems to be up to the task to soon shoulder the role of next captain of the Isles and the for the umpteen time “franchise player” segment of the league. Also I am hoping as a swede that Landeskogs future turns out to be as bright as it should be. Taylor Hall in all it's glory but for me Jordan Eberle is top-notch material of the Oilers.
The by-the-way point – The Crosby non-protection act
I am one of the ones who actually despise Crosby for his antics. I do acknowledge that he in many ways is the best player in NHL, but for me he does not have a sportsmanlike swagger like Zetterberg, Brodeur or Toews. He does in my eyes get to many favors out of the referees to not leave a horrid taste of suck up by the league.
Many opinions go into this subject. I have put my ones in the hat right now!