The Blackhawks' decision not to name a captain for the 2023-24 season certainly seems like a way to gracefully usher in Connor Bedard as the next great leader of the franchise.
While Bedard's eventual captaincy is basically set in stone, GM Kyle Davidson announced the team will have a group of alternate captains to make up this year's leadership core, which will be determine and announced in training camp. Educated guesses point to Connor Murphy, Seth Jones, Nick Foligno, Tyler Johnson and Corey Perry as clear candidates.
Few captains in the history of the league are more renowned than Jonathan Toews, whose 15-year leadership tenure garnered three Stanley Cup titles for the city of Chicago.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Martin Lapointe served as Blackhawks captain when Toews was rookie, while eight different players — including Toews — rotated as alternates throughout the 2007-08 season.
Toews was appointed captain by head coach Denis Savard going into his sophomore season. The rest, of course, is hall-of-fame bound history.
According to Davidson, Toews' Blackhawks captaincy is an act impossible to follow. So impossible, it would be doomed for anyone to try.
"The only plan right now is to sort of just let it breathe for a year," Davidson said. "We came off such a successful tenure with Jonathan [Toews] that, a little bit of it is just out of respect for Jonathan, to not fill that spot right away.
"And the other part is not to put that pressure on someone else when you're coming out of a period of such, call it greatness, right? And you want the next person to be in a position to succeed."
So when might Bedard be asked to wear the "C" for the Chicago Blackhawks? If all goes according to plan, recent history tells us he'll likely take the reins by his third NHL season, within the next couple of years.
"Over the next year, we'll see who emerges, see what the best option is, and decide next year if it's appropriate to name someone, we'll just take that as it comes," Davidson said.