( Photo Credit: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn

Growing up, there were a few things that attracted me to the sport of hockey apart from the actual game. I loved the championship celebrations compared to other sports. Hockey has a great combination of equipment tossing and “pig-piling,” for lack of a better term. Other team sports like basketball, football, and soccer struggle in both areas. The celebration isn’t organized, players are going everywhere, and there isn’t much in the way of tossable equipment.

Baseball is great for tossing equipment during a celebration. However, at times the celebration can also be disjointed and all over the place due to how players are positioned on the field – outfielders sometimes celebrate separately from the infielders. Hockey is great for both elements. Sticks, helmets, and gloves can all get tossed into the air after the sound of the final buzzer. Everyone knows they should meet at the goaltender to celebrate unless the game ends in overtime, in which case you simply follow whoever scored. Finally, because everyone not on the ice is on the bench, it creates a stream of teammates flying off the bench to the celebration area.

The other thing that attracted me to hockey was the culture of captains in the sport, specifically the fact that captains get to wear a letter on the front of their jersey. It may seem silly that something as small as a guy wearing an extra patch on his jersey fascinated me, but it drew me in, and the details of captains around the league have grasped me since. When Sidney Crosby was named captain of the Penguins at just 19 years old, I thought it was so cool that someone so young was a team leader.

The Bruins have been blessed with an obvious line of captains since signing Zdeno Chara in 2006. He was the perfect guy to lead the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup since 1972, and he was the ideal player to take the Bruins into the new era that we fans are trying to cling to. After he stepped aside, it was obvious that Patrice Bergeron was next in line. Had it not been for Chara, Bergeron would have been the team captain for much longer. In fact, he probably would have been captain of almost any other team in the league. When he decides to hang up his skates, it seems the probable choice will be Brad Marchand. Whether you agree with that or not, it does seem to be the most likely scenario.

The big question is, who comes next after Brad Marchand? I think a lot of people would default to Charlie McAvoy. I don’t think that would be a bad choice, per se, but I think Hampus Lindholm would be perfect for the role. Despite it seeming at first glance like the role of captain is just a letter on a jersey, the position comes with a lot of responsibility, and with a lot of responsibility comes a lot of pressure. Especially with the Bruins’ market, I think letting McAvoy focus just on his on-ice play would help the team get the most out of him.

One knock on Lindholm could be his lack of experience as a captain in the NHL. However, he aligns with both Chara and Bergeron’s style of leading by example, playing a solid two-way defensive game and leading the Bruins’ blue line this season. Even though he has improved every year, McAvoy still tends to occasionally make a weird decision or get too emotional in the heat of the moment. Lindholm seems like a guy who could remain steady and collected in the face of the pressure that comes with being a captain in a way that perhaps McAvoy may not be ready for.

The obvious plus for choosing McAvoy is his age. If they decide to go with McAvoy, they won’t need a new captain for a handful of years since he’s still 25-years -old and will probably be around 27 or 28 by the time he’d be named captain. Remember, though, that Lindholm has the same length of the contract as McAvoy does!

Both players are signed through the 2029/30 season, so longevity shouldn’t be a concern for Lindholm. Yes, he will be 36 at that point, but we’ve seen Swedish defensemen last well past that age. I remember a certain left-handed Swedish defenseman captaining his team to a Stanley Cup at age 37 with a younger, smaller, right-handed American defenseman by his side. That pair was Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, two of the best to play the position. I’m not saying Lindholm and McAvoy will be exactly that, but I’m also not saying they can’t!

Hampus Lindholm would be a perfect captain for the Boston Bruins, even if they went to him immediately following Bergeron’s term in the role. I can understand arguments for other guys, but if it were up to me, Lindholm would wear the “C” in the near future.