Who’s going to be the next Wild captain? Here’s a list of candidates

Longtime Wild captain Mikko Koivu will not be playing for Minnesota next season and the organization has yet to name a successor.
Whoever it is will have big shoes to fill in joining Koivu as the only other permanent captain in franchise history.
There’s been some chatter over the past week that the Wild already have decided internally on their next captain, though general manager Bill Guerin told reporters Monday that nothing has been locked in.
“We are still talking about the captaincy,” Guerin said. “We haven’t made any decision yet. The timeline will be closer to training camp. We still have a little bit of time. We will announce it when we are ready.”
Which raises the question: Who’s it going to be?
Here’s a list of candidates:
Jared Spurgeon: This probably makes the most sense considering Spurgeon is currently under contract longer than anyone else on the roster. He has developed into an incredible player for the Wild, and while he’s not an extremely vocal leader, he has the respect of every player in the locker room.
Marcus Foligno: If the Wild want a vocal leader, this is their guy. He consistently stands up for his teammates and has become a media darling of sorts. Plus, though Foligno does not have a long-term contract, Guerin said last month that the next captain doesn’t necessarily have to be someone with term. He might as well have admitted he was talking about Foligno.
Zach Parise: The fact that Parise has served as a captain in the past likely helps his case. He wore the “C” with the New Jersey Devils during the 2011-12 season and captained Team USA during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He already wears an “A” for the Wild, so it would be a seamless transition.
Ryan Suter: Similar to Parise, the fact that Suter already wears an “A” for the Wild makes him someone to consider. It’s no secret that Suter enjoys leading by example more than anything else, so maybe he’d rather someone else wear the “C”.
Kevin Fiala: This seems unlikely considering some of the other potential candidates. Still, if Guerin really wants to shakes things up and push the Wild into their next chapter, naming Fiala the captain might make sense. He is the most dynamic player on the team and figures to be around for a long time. This also would send a message that the old guard is no longer in charge of what is becoming a new team.
INJURY UPDATES
With training camp a week and a half away, the Wild already are down several players, with winger Mats Zuccarello and goaltender Alex Stalock out indefinitely.
Asked about Zuccarello, who had surgery on his right arm earlier this month, Guerin said, “He won’t be ready for the start of camp. We are hoping it’s shorter than longer. I don’t even want to guess on it because it doesn’t make any sense for me to do that.”
On Stalock, a South St. Paul native who is out with an unspecified upper-body injury, Guerin said, “We are hoping that he will be back at some point in time this season. He’s out indefinitely right now. I can’t get into his situation or anything.”
As of Monday afternoon, Guerin expected everyone else on the roster to be ready for training camp. He also didn’t expect anyone to opt out due to COVID concerns.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
While it’s a foregone conclusion that Cam Talbot will be the starter in goal next season, Stalock’s injury opens the door for 24-year-old Kaapo Kahkonen to make show more of what he can do. The young Finn certainly will get playing time in a condensed 56-game season that will feature lots of back-to-back contests.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for him,” Guerin said. “There’s plenty to go around. He’s going to get his opportunity. It’s just a matter of him taking advantage of it.”
As for Talbot, there’s no concern with him being able to play the bulk of the games.
“It’s nothing he can’t handle,” Guerin said. “He’s been a starter before. He’s been under pressure before. This isn’t anything new for him. We are going to make sure he gets the proper training, the proper workload and the proper rest. We have all the confidence that he’s going to play great for us.”
TAXI SQUAD
The league’s addition of the taxi squad this season will leave front offices with some tough decisions. These taxi squads will consist of a minimum of four players and a maximum of six and must include at least one goaltender if a team isn’t already carrying three goaltenders on its roster.
These players will practice and travel with the team, and they won’t be able to play in the minor leagues.
Because of that, the Wild probably don’t want to put a top prospect on the taxi squad, since that would limit their time on the ice. They would much rather those types of players to get consistent playing time in the minor leagues to further their development.
That’s what makes filling the taxi squad so difficult; players on that list are more likely an insurance policy and won’t be playing in very many actual games.
“There are certain things that we have to do and certain roles for everybody,” Guerin said. “The part of possibly being on a taxi squad, look, it’s better there than not playing at all or not being around at all. We always have to make difficult choices and we always try to understand that it’s not the easiest thing to be in that role.”
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