Since 2003, the Calgary Flames have had two captains. Each of those captains led the Flames through key times of the franchise’s history and lasted for several seasons. Since Mark Giordano’s departure to Seattle in 2020, the Flames have been without somebody wearing the C.
Do they need a captain for the 2022-23 season?
The last two Flames captains were, to be honest, the right person at the right place at the right time.
When Jarome Iginla was handed the C by Craig Conroy before the 2003-04 season, it was because Iginla was the straw that stirred the drink for the Flames. A season removed from his breakout 2001-02 season – featuring a scoring title, a Hart Trophy near-miss and an Olympic gold medal – Iginla was the club’s undisputed best player.
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Making Iginla the team’s official flag-bear made complete sense, and was immediately followed by the team coming within a hair of winning the Stanley Cup and then several strong subsequent regular season performances. For a team wanting to make a run for a Stanley Cup, making Iginla the captain was essentially everybody hopping on his back and seeing how far he could carry them. It worked for where they were as a franchise, and where he was as a player.
After Iginla’s departure, Mark Giordano inherited the C. Iginla’s departure signified the onset of a full-on Flames rebuild and Giordano – a hard-working defender who worked his way up from the minors – embodied everything the Flames wanted their young players to emulate during the first couple tough seasons when the club was low on talent but high on gumption.
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When the Flames’ talent levels rose and their youngsters matured, they already had the foundation of systems, structure and habits from the early years under Giordano.
With Giordano gone, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious heir apparent the way there was beforehand. Heck: Matthew Tkachuk, the seeming captain-in-waiting, is in Florida now. The Flames have three holdover alternate captains from 2021-22 in Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Chris Tanev, but it’s unclear if any of them are the focal point of the team.
Playing with three alternates (and no captain) worked well in 2021-22, as the Flames had a ton of success and won their division. Until someone emerges as the obvious choice the way Iginla or Giordano did, it might be prudent not to mess with a dynamic that worked really well last season.
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What do you think? Do the Flames need to have a team captain? Who should it be? Let us know in the comments!

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