Ridiculously late on an actual post regarding what is rather large news on the eve of an NHL season's birth, but will post it anyway: Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen has tabbed 36-year old blueliner Ed Jovanovski as Florida's seventh captain and first since the club dealt Bryan McCabe (a current associate with the organization) to the New York Rangers at the 2011 NHL trading deadline.
A few quick historical notes on Florida's latest captain (all numbers reflect service with Panthers):
- Games Played: 319 (5th among defensemen, 18th overall)
- Goals: 32 (4/33)
- Assists: 64 (6/28)
- Points: 96 (6/31)
- Jovo is the third defenseman to be selected for the role, after Paul Laus (a co-captain) and McCabe.
- First-overall selection at 1994 NHL Entry Draft in Hartford. Next four picks: Tverdovsky, Bonk, Bonsignore, O'Neill. You remember all of them, of course.
- Had a rough introduction to the pro game, courtesy of current league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Oh the subtle irony. Shanny still sucks.
So that's that. The guy has certainly earned his stripes with the club and indeed around the league with a total of 1,085 games logged on his career with Florida (twice), Vancouver, and Phoenix. Doesn't hurt a lick that he's a beast on the community and charity fronts. The consummate professional, and I remain personally very lucky to have been in the building when he was drafted; strange how timelines cross.
UFA-to-be Stephen Weiss was the candidate apparently favored among many vocal fans; relative youth and recent exposure to the market likely play an enormous role in his understandable popularity, as is his forward position (goals/points = good). Blueliner Brian Campbell would make for a superb, very experienced captain as well - and based upon how contract talks evolve with Weiss over the next few months, he just may get that opportunity.