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Article: The Wild Would Send A Message By Making Eriksson Ek Captain


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Eriksson Ek is finally winning right around 50% of his faceoffs and his defensive ability at the C position is a huge benefit to the Wild. The idea of making him captain doesn't seem too terrible, but moving him to wing doesn't seem remotely possible.

If they moved Rossi up to play with him, Rossi would be the wing. I doubt they would make JEE captain either, but it's more realistic than changing positions.

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hmm

no captaincy should be Kaprizov

also, Rossi can model his game after Ek or even after Gretzky but that will yield the same result as he has no attributes that would help in either case. 

He would officially succeed Mikko Koivu as his replacement, and Eriksson Ek was drafted to be just that. 

To the above - Ek is already a better player than Koivu. Let's set the bar a bit higher!

If Eriksson Ek leads the Wild to a Cup, they should consider retiring his No. 14 alongside Kaprizov’s No. 97. 

That would be hard to do considering Kap will likely be playing the majority of this career as a non-Wild player but i guess still non impossible given that Kap is already the best player we ever had.

Eriksson Ek needs to be captain and play wing. 

Ek needs to wear an A and Billy needs to wake up and give captaincy to Kap. We know what Ek brings, he is respected and loved by teammates. But giving captaincy to Kap potentially gives us a trump card when signing comes around, and i think is a good change of pace from quiet captains of before - Koivu and Spurge - i feel like Kap would bring a lot of new spunk into the role and will grow even more engaged with team, making it veryveryvery tough to say goodbye 😜

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2 minutes ago, OldDutchChip said:

i think is a good change of pace from quiet captains of before - Koivu and Spurge - i feel like Kap would bring a lot of new spunk into the role

Another ODC truth bomb.  Mikko "wet blanket" Koivu set the tone in the locker room for years and now we have Spruge who's leads by example.  

Agree that the move is to transfer the C to 97 for all the reasons ODC gave and because 97 is the heart, soul, and spine of this group.  Of course there are others in this group who bring it at an NHL level, but 97 is on another level.  Give him the C in hopes it makes him more invested in the Wild and makes him want to stick around to "see it thru in MN". 

But P-Trap 97 isn't very vocal in the room.  97's work on the ice is enough to shame the nojo's and zuccy's into playing with NHL intensity.  If 97 wears the C I'll bet we watch him grow into a more vocal leader.  He just gets #$it done! 

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If you take the C away from the Wild's captain and longest tenure player that would definitely send a message to the team. Not sure it would be the same message you're suggesting though.

 

Also, to be clear, you also want to take the Wilds best center and one of the top defensive centers (on a team that is starved for centers) in the league and move him to wing to help Rossi out? 

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4 hours ago, OldDutchChip said:

Eriksson Ek needs to be captain and play wing. 

Ek needs to wear an A and Billy needs to wake up and give captaincy to Kap. We know what Ek brings, he is respected and loved by teammates. But giving captaincy to Kap potentially gives us a trump card when signing comes around, and i think is a good change of pace from quiet captains of before - Koivu and Spurge - i feel like Kap would bring a lot of new spunk into the role and will grow even more engaged with team, making it veryveryvery tough to say goodbye 😜

I'm not sure who would be the better Kaptain, Ek or Kaprizov, but both should wear letters. Spurgeon's got to give up his C, he's just not able to be the C anymore. 

Next, it would be an idiot move to put Eriksson Ek at wing. We've already got too many LHS wings.  Ek is our best C right now. He plays really good up the middle. And even position changing him just makes me shake my head, Why???

Plus Ek is entering his prime years, move him to wing when he's older if you must. We simply don't have that good of center depth anyway.

What I want out of my Kaptains are to have the 3 hardest working players wearing the letters. I'm so sick of them coming out flat, especially at home. That effort comes from the letter guys, and we need more effort. Johansson should have gotten his ass kicked in the locker room last season for the efforts he had.

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2 hours ago, Peter Lemonjello said:

If you take the C away from the Wild's captain and longest tenure player that would definitely send a message to the team. Not sure it would be the same message you're suggesting though.

Letters should be turned in after every season. Sure, a player can reclaim their letter the next year, but this should be an every year occurrence. 

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Does who wears the C really matter?  Does it really change the culture?  A player can still be a vocal leader without the somewhat arbitrary designation.  The leader in the locker room isn’t always the guy with the ceremonial designation.  Ek is certainly a worthy candidate, but who really cares?  I’m sure he doesn’t.

And, no, don’t move him off of center.  Absolutely not.

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20 minutes ago, Beast said:

Does who wear the C really matter?  Does it really change the culture?  A player can still be a vocal leader without the somewhat arbitrary designation.  The leader in the locker room isn’t always the guy with the ceremonial designation.  Ek is certainly a worthy candidate, but who really cares?  I’m sure he doesn’t.

I tend to agree with this line of thinking, as long as the captain deserves it.  Ek, Spurge, and Kaprizov definitely deserve it, but does giving the "C" to Kaprizov change the stay in Minnesota meter at all?  I'm not sure he really cares to have it and the added responsibilities.  I pretty sure if it was asked of him to wear it as it would be best for the team, he would.  I believe EK and Spurge feel the same way.  I would bring those three players together and ask for them to vote who wears it.  I think it would mean more if Kaprizov was voted by his peers.

The only argument I have against Kap is the language barrier, but I think it's a minor factor.  

Also, centers who get talked about as Selke candidates should stay at center.

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1 hour ago, Beast said:

Does who wears the C really matter?  Does it really change the culture?  A player can still be a vocal leader without the somewhat arbitrary designation.  The leader in the locker room isn’t always the guy with the ceremonial designation.  Ek is certainly a worthy candidate, but who really cares?  I’m sure he doesn’t.

And, no, don’t move him off of center.  Absolutely not.

i think it would matter to Kap though and allow him to really break free and be even more vocal. i mentioned this before, but his idol spent the entire career with one team. he battled through adversity and LEAD the team as a captain to SC. this may be one thing that gives us a change keeping Kap - give him a C - tell him the team is his - make it hard to leave - show him that he can lead like Ovi. 

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Ek is not a vocal captain.  We had that last year with Spurgeon.  Ek is fantastic in how he plays.  But people don't look at how people play and do better.  They need someone to tell them to do better.  That isn't Ek.  Kirill is somewhat like that but the language barrier is high on that.  Faber would be the best one for a vocal captain.  But we have to wait on that a bit.  

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I wouldn't be surprised if they kept the captains and assistant captains the same as the start of last year. I'd certainly be okay if Kaprizov were given the C.

The reasons for Eriksson Ek to be captain are compelling as well. He shows up to camp in the best shape each year, according to the Wild's fitness tests, and improves his game every year. He might be their best PK guy as well as the top PP center, and he plays a complete game, not backing down from any situation. He certainly leads by example whether he wears a letter or not.

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Kaprizov does not like the media. He does not do Kwik Trip commercials. He's been hiding behind the me no speak English very well since he got here. You rarely see or hear from him off the ice. I doubt he wants anything to do with the C. He appears to be somewhat detached from the team really. 

He came to the NHL for one reason and one reason only. To get his name on the Stanley Cup. From watching the teams in this year's playoffs it should be obvious to anyone that the Wild are a long ways from being a competitive playoff team. I would guess Kaprizov watched the playoffs. 

 

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It's never that simple. If Kaprizov leaves, I could see MN coming into the window to win nicely while he's on a good team that may not get to a final.

These next two seasons are important to show #97 that MN is getting close. These young players and goalies will be a factor. MN getting back to the playoffs is a factor. Guerin proving he can improve the team is likely a large part. 

There is some time and some promise. I think it will work out fine. 

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13 minutes ago, Secord Sucks said:

Kinda a nothingburger IMO. I expect to see MN come out of camp with a nice group. Can they get off to a better start and improve the PK? Can Fleury have an amazing season and will Gus show up fat and tired? 

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I don't think any of the players care who wears the C.  The C needs to be able to maintain composure and talk intelligently to the refs when on ice issues happen.  A veteran with the C makes sense and Spurgeon checks all the boxes.  As well as, the last time I checked our 2 best D-men were still Brodin and Spurgeon.  We have seen what happens when one of them goes down and it isn't pretty.  As long as Spurgeon maintains his high level of play he has earned the right to wear that C.

Ek and Rossi are our 2 best centers.  No way do I move either off that position unless someone else plays it better.  

It isn't easy to build a roster like the Panthers.  6' 2'' gritty and skilled players is hard to find.  How hard?  We have 1 on our entire roster.

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Through playing sports and other non athletic activities through high school and college the captaincy was way more of an honoring someone as who the team sees as a leader than defining the tone. While our captains were vocal and would act as team representatives this did not stop anyone else from being a leader, being vocal, holding higher standards. As MNCountry stated, a captain must maintain composure and be the one talking to refs. I am not saying Kap can't do that but just giving him the C doesn't propel this team into a different direction. A quiet captain does not mean the team is quite and passive (see last years fight numbers for the wild). 

Anyone with a voice can be a leader, can hold teammates accountable, can drive attitude. Otherwise why bring in players like Reeves? For the simple point of bringing that energy and voice. Dumba did the same thing. Also a good captain will let other lead, be vocal, bring energy. This was, I believe, the issue during the Parise Suter era, they used that as a weight to say my way or the highway (along with their contracts and tenure). I doubt just slapping a letter on the chest of Kap will make any difference in the long haul with him staying or going. Or do captains never leave a team? Do they always bring them championships? If they don't should they be ripping the C away and reassigning year over year?  There is a lot more going on than bringing in the right attitude that will magically be absorbed by the whole team.

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On 7/7/2024 at 9:15 AM, FredJohnson said:

Marco's future might be at wing anyway IMHO. 

Giving that a bit more thought, Heidt's best offensive attribute is probably his passing, so if he made the team and took the 2nd line C position, that could make things interesting. Yurov will likely push Rossi to wing in the top 6, so might not be bad to prepare for that ahead of his arrival. I'm not sure Heidt will actually make the team, so this is purely hypothetical.

KK97, JEE, Rossi

Boldy, Heidt, Zuccarello

Trenin, Hartman, Foligno

Gaudreau, Khusnutdinov, Ohgren

 

I see people calling Rossi the 2nd best C on the team when that seems to have been Hartman. Rossi had 150 more minutes on the season. Hartman had more points in fewer games, along with around double the number of blocks and hits. Hartman also had more faceoffs won at a higher win%.

Rossi could pass Hartman in the next few years, but I'm not quite ready to crown him there, and I suspect Yurov and JEE will be ahead of him the following season, so moving to wing might be his best opportunity to be a top 6 player, particularly with Zuccarello moving out soon.

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