The Buffalo Sabres will have two captains heading into the new season as the team announced Thomas Vanek will wear the C at home, while Steve Ott will do so on the road. Meanwhile, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will serve as the team's alternate captain for all games.
This move is a bit unconventional, but may be born out of uncertainty. Vanek's contract with the Sabres is up at the end of the season and the veteran scorer has said he wants to see how Buffalo's youth performs before making a decision on re-upping with the team. There's a chance he could be trade bait if the Sabres fall out of contention quickly.
Having two captains might help soften that blow if Vanek's time left in Buffalo is rather brief, as Ott, whose contract also expires at the end of the season, would more than likely fill the role full-time.
Vanek and Ott will be replacing Jason Pominville, who was traded at the deadline last season. The pair posed with their newly C-adorned jerseys for the announcement.
Additionally, this is not the first time the Sabres have used a two-captain rotation. The team did so with rather good results from 2005 to 2007 when Daniel Briere and Chris Drury split the captaincy. The team made it to the Eastern Conference Final in both seasons of the dual captains and won the President's Trophy in 2006-07.
Of course, no one is expecting anything close to that kind of success from the Sabres, but the two captain thing, while it might seem a little odd, is not unprecedented.
Additionally, the Sabres are in need of solid leadership. They're a team in rebuild mode and have a lot of young players that will be learning the ropes a bit on the fly. Vanek is a franchise staple, who has been one of the best players of the last decade for the team. Ott is a relatively new arrival, but is widely known as a well-respected teammate.