One of the subplots of this fall’s Oilers training camp will be the role of team captain Andrew Ference. The defenceman took a step back last year and saw his ice time reduced as the season wore on; arguably he isn’t among the top-six defencemen on Edmonton’s roster at this time.
In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask if he should or shouldn’t play, and what should happen to the captaincy in either event.
Ference talked to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson on Monday about the subject, and his comments are well worth reading. Of particular interest was Ference’s admission that he had already discussed the matter with new head coach Todd McLellan:
I brought it up … I like things out in the open. I don’t like walking on eggshells or awkward moments, player to coach, player to GM. This isn’t a vanity project. We should want everybody pulling on the same rope for the Oilers.
While Ference isn’t expecting any changes, he has a name in mind of a player that he’d pick to replace him as captain if it comes down to that. He didn’t divulge his preferred candidate, but did stress that it’s necessary to have a leadership group rather than a single leader within the room.
As he generally does, Ference comes across as mature and intelligent in his discussion with Matheson. He’s a professional, and his comments suggest that he would understand if the new coach wanted to make a change and that he wouldn’t make an issue of it. That, of course, makes him sound rather like the kind of player a team wants as its public face and internal leader. But then, that’s been true his whole career.
So, what do our readers think? Should Ference stay in the lineup and/or stay captain? If not, who replaces him?