Former Philadelphia Flyers star Bobby Clarke isn’t a fan of NHL teams naming young stars as captains.
Speaking with SiriusXMNHL, Clarke admitted he was too young when he was named captain of the Flyers at age 23. He said youngsters being given the ‘C’ isn’t a great move by teams because often they aren’t ready to lead.
“I think these guys are too young to be captains of hockey teams. They don’t even know themselves as players yet, and their positions in the league and everything else. Give them four or five years to just play and become the players they are and want to be and stuff before they’re expected to lead others.”
The conversation is relevant as the Edmonton Oilers are reportedly considering making Connor McDavid captain. The 19-year-old would become the youngest captain in the NHL. It’s not commonplace in the league to see players in their late teens or early 20’s given the honor. The most recent examples include Gabriel Landeskog (19-years-old in 2012), Sidney Crosby (19-years-old in 2007) and Jonathan Toews (20-years-old in 2008). Like McDavid, all of those players were high draft picks, expected to be franchise players. Making them captain now just accelerates what’s inevitable.
Clarke has a point as it’s never a good thing to throw captaincy at somebody who’s not ready for the responsibilities, but the role has changed since his playing days. Franchise players are instant captain material, no matter what age.