By the Numbers: NHL Captains


Image from

By Aaron Westendorf

Being a NHL captain means a lot more than just wearing a ‘C’ on your uniform. You are the leader in the locker room, the first to take interviews from the media during a losing streak and quickly become the face of a franchise. Many people are quick to point out that captaincy of a team means less than it appears: they are not always the most skilled player, sometimes a captain is only symbolic, some teams don’t name a captain (Blue Jackets spent their entire 2013-14 season without one) and NHL rule 14 makes it illegal for goaltenders to be named captain (Roberto Luongo was named captain of the Canucks in 2008, using a loophole – kind of). While that might be true, there is a lot more context to each captain: an up and coming player may be named captain to cement them as the franchise’s foundation, possibly a grizzled veteran is named captain to lead a young core, or a local boy was acquired during free agency and now serves as a leader – both on the ice and in the community.

Here is a look at the NHL captains around the league, by the numbers:


24 of 30 NHL teams have captains as of July 31, 2014.


The average age of a NHL captain. Bryce Salvador (38) is the oldest while Gabriel Landeskog (21) is the youngest.


The average tenure of current NHL captains. For the missing 6 teams I assumed a zero year tenure should they name a captain later this summer.


The average years of NHL experience for captains.


The average draft choice for NHL captains. Mark Giordano (Undrafted), Henrik Zetterberg (210), Andrew Ference (208), Bryce Salvador (138) and Jamie Benn (129) are notable late draft picks. Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares and Steven Stamkos were all selected first overall.


The average number of NHL playoff games played by captains.


Average number of Stanley Cups won. Andrew Ladd, Jonathan Toews and Dustin Brown all have won 2 Stanley Cups.


The number of captains not acquired via the draft. 4 were acquired through trades, while the other 3 were acquire via free agency.


Number of NHL captains that went undrafted. I know I mentioned it before, but Mark Giordano deserves to be mentioned twice.


The average number of points scored by NHL captains during their respective careers.


The number of NHL captains from Canada.


The number of NHL captains not from Canada. Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), Dustin Brown (USA), Mikko Koivu (Finland), Alexander Ovechkin (Russia), Hernik Sedin (Sweden), Gabriel Landeskog (Sweden), David Backes (USA), and Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden) are the eight.

Here are the NHL captains ranked by their tenure:

The captains are sorted by the number of years they have served as captain for their team. Numbers highlighted in green performed above league average, while numbers in red are below league average. See how your favorite team’s captain performs amongst the league’s best! Click on the image below for a fullscreen view:

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 11.35.33 AM