Montreal Canadiens: Four Leaders But No Captain

Photo: Montreal Canadiens Official Instagram

Photo: Montreal Canadiens Official Instagram

The 29th named captain in Montreal Canadiens franchise history is… nobody. At least not yet. For the second time in five years, the Montreal Canadiens will go a season without naming a captain just like the 2009-10 season between the Saku Koivu and Brian Gionta era. After the departure of four-year captain Brian Gionta to Buffalo, there has been months of speculating who will be the next Canadien to wear the “C” on their sweater. Earlier Monday, the Canadiens announce that P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec will all share the alternate captain role for the season.

According to Arpon Basu – Managing Editor of, Plekanec and Markov will be designated alternate captains for the entire season, meanwhile Subban and Pacioretty will alternate since teams can only assign three players on the roster a level of captaincy.

Andrei Markov is a 35-year old defenceman from Voskresensk, Soviet Union (now Russia) who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 162nd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent his whole career in Montreal and has recorded a total of 442 points in just short of eight hundred games played. Markov’s contract for the upcoming season earns him $7 million with an AAV of $5.75 million.

Max Pacioretty was one of two first round draft picks by the Canadiens along with Ryan McDonagh in 2007. A native of New Canaan, Connecticut, Pacioretty is coming off of a season which saw him put home 39 goals along with five more during an impressive playoff run by the team. Pacioretty will be pocketing a $4 million salary this coming season with a $4.5 million AAV.

P.K. Subban of Toronto, was, like teammate Pacioretty, drafted in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Canadiens. In the last two years, Subban has been a Norris Trophy winner, Olympic gold medalist, and a leading scorer among NHL defencemen. The fan favourite in Montreal earned this role after receiving a new 8-year, 72 million dollar salary. Contract broken down, Subban will be making $7 million this year with a $9 million AAV.

Tomas Plekanec will be entering his 11th season with the Habs after being drafted 71st overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the team. Plekanec was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). Plekanec has been a 20+ goal scorer in all but four seasons, one of which was during the shortened season due to a labour stoppage. This season Plekanec will be taking home $5 million which matches his AAV.

Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Interestingly enough, all four of these men share one thing in common. It is not their contracts, nor their draft years, positions, or even place of birth. Markov, Pacioretty, Subban and Plekanec have all spent their entire careers in Montreal, never sporting another National Hockey League sweater. Whether it was Markov’s 1998 draft year, Plekanec in 2001, or Pacioretty and Subban in 2007, all four have been Montreal Canadiens from their first National Hockey Leauge contract.

“I think we’re all comfortable with this [alternate captain group]. We’ll see how it plays out next year.” – Tomas Plekanec (via Chantal [@habsgirl4life])

“I don’t feel any additional pressure. I’ve spent nine years with the organization, and I’m the same guy I was when I arrived here all those years ago, I just have a little bit more experience. Everyone on the team has to show their leadership capabilities if we want to have success. Everyone has to give their best for the team. That’s how I see it.” – Andrei Markov (via

“At the end of the day, I want to be the best teammate I can be. To be put in a leadership position gives you that opportunity to also be that type of figure in terms of being a mentor. But having a letter on your jersey shouldn’t change your outlook on things. It just means that there’s more of an expectation for you, more responsibility. That holds a player accountable, and makes them better.” – P.K. Subban (via

“The biggest thing was Marc saying to me that up until now when I came into camp, I was looking up to other guys and now there will be guys coming in and looking up to me. That will change my mindset a little bit, but they gave me this opportunity for a reason and I don’t want to change. I’ll maybe tweak a couple of little things, but I’ll just keep being myself.” – Max Pacioretty (via

“What I saw over the course of my first two seasons in Montreal is young guys pushing to up their roles and take on more. We’ve got a group of four to which I’m adding Carey Price. For myself and Michel, and for the entire team, he’s a leader. With the group of four, Carey Price, and the young guys pressing, I feel like it’ll make for a good transition.” – Marc Bergevin (via

“I don’t see it as an audition. I see it more as they’re ready to take on more responsibility. We don’t want to put pressure on anyone’s shoulders for no reason. Our young leaders have made big strides over the last two years. We want to make sure that they continue to make those strides.” – Michel Therrien (via


List of all Montreal Canadiens captains:

1) Jack Laviolette (1909-10, 1911-12)
2) Newsy Lalonde (1910-11, 1912-13, 1916-22)
3) Jimmy Gardner (1913-15)
4) Howard McNamara (1915-16)
5) Sprague Cleghorn (1922-25)
6) Billy Coutu (1925-26)
7) Sylvio Mantha (1926-32, 1933-36)
8) George Hainsworth (1932-33)
9) Albert Siebert (1936-39)
10) Walter Buswell (1939-40)
11) Toe Blake (1940-48)
12) Bill Durnan (1948)
13) Emile Bouchard (1948-56)
14) Maurice Richard (1956-60)
15) Doug Harvey (1960-61)
16) Jean Beliveau (1961-71)
17) Henri Richard (1971-75)
18) Yvan Cournoyer (1975-79)
19) Serge Savard (1979-81)
20) Bob Gainey (1981-89)
21) Guy Carbonneau (1989-94) / Chris Chelios (1989-90)
22) Kirk Muller (1994-95)
23) Mike Keane (1995)
24) Pierre Turgeon (1995-96)
25) Vincent Damphousse (1996-99)
26) Saku Koivu (1999-2009)
27) Brian Gionta (2010-14)



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