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OHL Footprint: Captains in the NHL

 

Despite the unusual circumstances we’re all experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new NHL season is upon us, with a number of OHL graduates donning the ‘C’ for their respective NHL clubs.

A total of 175 OHL graduates emerged from the list of 300 invited to NHL training camps, earning spots on opening night rosters as the puck dropped this past week.

Ten former OHL talents are providing leadership for their NHL clubs as captains. Here’s a closer look at those high profile names:

 

Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano (Owen Sound Attack, 2002-04)

  • 37-year-old defenceman is in his eighth season as Flames captain
  • Was the 2019 recipient of the Norris Trophy awarded to the NHL’s top defenceman
  • Won the 2020 Mark Messier Leadership Award
  • Has played in three NHL All-Star Games
  • His 484 career points are third all-time among Flames defencemen, trailing Al MacInnis (822) and Gary Suter (565)
  • Was not drafted into either the NHL or the OHL, making the Attack out of training camp before being named an OHL first all-rookie team member with 48 points (18-30–48) in 2002-03.
  • Has represented Canada internationally at two World Championships (2008, 2010) as well as a Spengler Cup (2008)

 

Carolina Hurricanes – Jordan Staal (Peterborough Petes, 2004-06)

  • 32-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont. enters his fourth season as Canes captain, having split his NHL career between Carolina and Pittsburgh
  • Won a Stanley Cup title with the Penguins in 2009, two years after being named to the NHL’s all-rookie team in 2007.
  • Was selected by Pittsburgh with the second overall pick of the 2006 NHL Draft
  • Third-oldest of three brothers to play in the OHL alongside Eric (Peterborough Petes/Buffalo Sabres), Marc (Sudbury Wolves/Detroit Red Wings) and Jared (Sudbury Wolves).
  • Won an OHL championship with Peterborough in 2006
  • Has represented Canada at two World Championships, winning gold in 2007.

 

Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers, 2009-11)

  • 28-year-old winger embarks on his ninth season as Avalanche captain
  • Won the NHL’s Calder Trophy in 2012 as Rookie of the Year
  • Currently sits sixth in Avalanche all-time scoring with 460 points (198-262–460) over 634 contests, trailing Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Peter Forsberg, Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Tanguay.
  • Was chosen by Colorado with the second overall pick of the 2011 NHL Draft
  • Wore the ‘C’ in Kitchener, posting 112 points (60-52–112) over 114 games from 2009-11
  • Has represented Sweden internationally numerous times, most prominently winning World Championship gold medals in both 2013 and 2017. He was a 2014 Olympic silver medalist

 

Columbus Blue Jackets – Nick Foligno (Sudbury Wolves, 2004-07)

  • 33-year-old winger is in his sixth season as captain of the Blue Jackets
  • Won the King Clancy Trophy as the player best demonstrating leadership and humanitarian efforts in 2017
  • Competed in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game
  • Currently sits third in Blue Jackets all-time scoring with 318 points (135-183–318) over 558 regular season games, trailing Rick Nash and Cam Atkinson
  • Began his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him 28th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft
  • Helped lead the Wolves to an Eastern Conference title in 2007, completing an OHL career that yielded 196 points (65-131–196) in as many games
  • Is the son of former long-time NHL forward Mike Foligno. Brother Marcus also played for the Wolves and recently re-signed with the Minnesota Wild
  • Has represented the United States at three World Championships (2009, 2010, 2016)

 

Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters, 2012-15)

  • 24-year-old rising star from Newmarket, Ont. is in his fifth season as Oilers captain
  • Won the Hart Trophy as NHL’s most valuable player in 2017, is a two-time Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s leading scorer (2017, 2018). Has also won the Ted Lindsay Award as MVP selected by the NHLPA on two different occasions (2017, 2018)
  • Has competed in four NHL All-Star Games
  • Selected by the Oilers with the first overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft
  • Enjoyed a decorated OHL career with the Erie Otters, winning a Western Conference title in 2015 after claiming OHL Rookie of the Year honours (2013), Scholastic Player of the Year (2014, 2015), Most Sportsmanlike Player (2014), the Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award as playoff MVP (2015) along with the Red Tilson Trophy as most valuable player (2015)
  • Sits fourth in Otters all-time scoring with 285 points (97-188–285) over just 166 games behind Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat and Brad Boyes
  • Was selected by the Otters with the first overall pick of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection as an exceptional status player
  • Has represented Canada at World Championships in 2016 and 2018 and also played for Team North America at the 2017 World Cup of Hockey

 

San Jose Sharks – Logan Couture (Ottawa 67’s, 2005-09)

  • 31-year-old centreman is in his second season as Sharks captain after wearing an ‘A’ since 2015-16
  • Has been selected to a pair of NHL All-Star Games (2012, 2020)
  • Led the 2016 NHL Playoffs in scoring with 30 points (10-20–30) over 24 games as the Sharks won a Western Conference title
  • Sits fourth in Sharks all-time scoring with 547 points (256-291–547) over 716 games, trailing Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski
  • Was selected by the Sharks with the ninth overall pick of the 2007 NHL Draft
  • Played four seasons in Ottawa, graduating as captain following a 287-point (111-176–287) OHL career
  • Won gold with Canada at the 2017 World Cup

 

St. Louis Blues – Ryan O’Reilly (Erie Otters, 2007-09)

  • 29-year-old centreman was recently named captain of the Blues, having recently helped lead them to a Stanley Cup title in 2019
  • Received the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2019 and also was named the NHL’s top defensive forward, earning the Frank J. Selke Trophy. O’Reilly also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player in 2014
  • Has competed in three NHL All-Star Games
  • Was originally chosen by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Has split his career between the Avs, Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues
  • Former first overall OHL Priority Selection choice was a standout in Erie, posting 118 points (35-83–118) over 129 regular season games
  • Has represented Canada on the world stage a number of time, notably winning World Championship gold medals in 2015 and 2016 along with a World Cup gold medal in 2017

 

Tampa Bay Lightning – Steven Stamkos (Sarnia Sting, 2006-08)

  • 30-year-old Markham, Ont. native has served as captain of the Lightning for eight seasons
  • Won a Stanley Cup title with Tampa Bay this past summer, scoring in his lone playoff appearance having been limited by injuries
  • Has competed in six NHL All-Star Games, winning the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer in 2010 and 2012
  • Sits third in Lightning all-time scoring with 835 points (423-412–835) over 804 contests, trailing Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. Is the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 423
  • Chosen by the Lightning with the first overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft
  • Was a star in Sarnia, recording 197 points (100-97–197) over 124 contests while being named OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2007
  • Has represented Canada internationally numerous times, winning World Junior gold in 2008 and World Championship silver in 2009. Won World Cup gold in 2017.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs – John Tavares (Oshawa Generals, London Knights, 2005-09)

  • 30-year-old centreman from Mississauga, Ont. is wearing the Maple Leafs ‘C’ for the second season after previously serving as captain of the New York Islanders over a span of five seasons from 2013-18
  • Has played in six NHL All-Star Games, amassing 772 points (346-426–772) over his 815-game NHL career
  • Was selected by the Islanders with the first overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft
  • Is the OHL’s all-time leading goal-scorer, lighting the lamp 215 times, contributing to a total of 433 points (215-218–433) over 247 regular season games between London and Oshawa
  • Won a number of OHL awards including Rookie of the Year (2006), Red Tilson Trophy as OHL MVP (2007), as well as the Eddie Powers Trophy as OHL scoring leader (2009)
  • Won a pair of World Junior gold medals with Canada in 2008 and 2009 and was an Olympic gold medalist in 2014. Has represented Canada in World Championship action three times (2010, 2011, 2012) and won World Cup gold in 2017

 

Vancouver Canucks – Bo Horvat (London Knights, 2011-14)

  • 25-year-old product of Rodney, Ont. is wearing the ‘C’ in Vancouver for the second season
  • Played in the 2017 NHL All-Star Game
  • Was selected by the Canucks with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft
  • Was a standout in London, scoring one of the biggest goals in Knights history in the dying seconds of Game 7 of the 2013 OHL Championship Series. Was named MVP of the 2013 OHL Playoffs
  • Won back-to-back OHL titles with the Knights before also competing in the 2014 Memorial Cup, finishing with 165 points (74-91–165) over 185 contests
  • Played for Canada at the 2018 World Championships as well as the 2014 World Juniors
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