Andrew Ference named captain of the Oilers

Jonathan Willis
September 29 2013 08:11AM

 

Dallas Eakins broke the news that Andrew Ference will be the new captain of the Edmonton Oilers when he tweeted the picture above on Sunday morning.

There had been indications that the Oilers might be leaning toward a veteran captain rather than one of the team's young stars, and while Ference is to some degree a surprising choice this is not entirely unexpected news.

Ference brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is 34 years old and has played nearly 1,000 games at the NHL level, split between Pittsburgh and Calgary and Boston. He spent the last two seasons as an alternate captain with a very good Bruins team. Over his career he's been on five reasonably deep playoff runs - with Mario Lemieux in 2000-01, with Jarome Iginla in 2003-04 and multiple times with the Bruins, earning a Stanley Cup ring in 2011.

He's a newcomer, but he's one that should be respected based on what he's done over his career.

Passed over were other obvious candidates. Taylor Hall is the team's best player in the here-and-now. Jordan Eberle was the Oilers' only full-time alternate last season. Sam Gagner's NHL resume doesn't put him in the same class as those two, but Craig MacTavish identified him as a character guy and a team leader over the summer and Gagner has a lot of experience for a player his age (it's worth wondering too whether Gagner's injury impacted his chances).

How much does it matter? Perhaps not a lot; the line of thinking that leaders lead regardless of position is one I have a lot of time for; I also tend to think that in the grand scheme of things naming the right or wrong guy captain doesn't have much impact on goal differential. 

Was it the right choice? Time will tell, but my inclination is to say 'yes.' The off-ice - and especially media - responsibilities that come with the captaincy are probably best given to a veteran in most cases. Choosing an outsider could well be a positive, as the Oilers continue to emphasize the break between the present and the failures of recent years. Picking a guy from a winning organization makes sense for many of the same reasons.

From this (imperfect) vantage point, Ference seems a logical choice.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#101 clyde
September 29 2013, 10:43AM
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Good choice for captain. Macintyre must be hurt fairly bad considering the Oilers waiver pick up. Or, do they want more toughness on the farm?

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#102 Smokey
September 29 2013, 11:04AM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Leafs have been waiving some quality players lately.

Id take Liles way before Grebs...anyday

I concur.

Best thing that happened to Grebs was the injury, cause he's still on the team.

Larson I know is smaller, and redundant in terms of skill set. He guy did everything he could of to try to make this team. If this team was not so short on functional toughness and needed to carry 3 goons which eats up other roster spots, he should of had a spot in my estimation. Next time he will learn that he should drop the mitts rather then getting points and moving the puck effectively.

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#103 Smokey
September 29 2013, 11:12AM
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Harry wrote:

Love the Gazdic pickup. Dont know much about the guy but hes 6'4" 240 and tough as nails. Exactly what we need.

Now all we need is a decent 3-4 C that doesnt have a brutal contract and all of a sudden were looking allright.

Some sites say 6'3'' 210. What's with these discrepancies. In a couple of fights I just watched on utube he doesn't look to huge.

I guess the signing sends a message to Eager to engage and not float around or his job will be taken by Gadzic. So does this mean Stevie Mac is out for a while? I was looking forward to him fighting George Paros this season and intermission interviews.

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#104 TeamOmark: The SpinMove The Shot The Goal
September 29 2013, 03:04PM
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Hemsky gets his 'A' back this season. Book it.

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#105 Oiler Al
September 29 2013, 05:59PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Maybe Katz took the picture considering it was taken in his house,or did the powers that be need his permission with there choice as captain ?At this pointe in time it's the right choice for the team.

Ference, good choice at this point. Hall will get his chance. Hall, needs some maturing and his game will grow even more.Hope that he gets the "A"for this year. There more to this than on ice performance.

PS;. Looks like Buckberger and Lowe just wondered in from cutting Katz's lawn . Can someone name them a decent tailor.I guess when you pay $200 mill for the team , you can choose your gardners. Oh, didn't see Curly in the picture.

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