On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston announced that forwards Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott have been named as co-captains for the 2013-2014 season. Vanek will serve as captain for home games and Ott will serve as captain for away games. Each will serve as an alternate captain for games that the other serves as the captain.
Ron Rolston also announced on Tuesday that defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will serve as an alternate captain for all games.
Thomas Vanek, 29, is now in his ninth season with the Sabres. Drafted 5th overall by the Sabres in the first round of the 2003 NHL draft, Vanek has played 585 games with the team since 2005. In those 585 games, Vanek has 250 goals and 238 assists for 488 total points. He also has 358 penalty minutes and a plus-34 during his career. In 36 playoff games in four trips to the post season with the Sabres, Vanek has 15 goals and 5 assists for 20 points, while accumulating 18 penalty minutes and a minus-5 rating
Steve Ott, 31, now enters his second season with the Sabres after being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars in exchange for Derek Roy in July of 2012. Playing in all 48 games with the Sabres during the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season, Ott had nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points, to go along with 93 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. In nine seasons with the Dallas Stars previously, Ott played 566 games with the team between 2002 and 2012, scoring 85 goals and adding 135 assists for 220 points. He also had 1,170 penalty minutes and a minus-12 rating during his time in Dallas, where he established himself as one of the NHL’s premier “pests”. He also played 34 playoff games over the course of five playoff trips with the Stars, scoring three goals and two assists for five points, while posting 32 penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating.
Christian Ehrhoff, 31, enters his third season with the Sabres after signing a 10-year contract with the team in July of 2011. Ehrhoff has played 113 games with the Sabres since 2011, scoring 10 goals and tallying 44 assists for 54 total points. He also has 81 penalty minutes and is rated a plus-4 during his time in Buffalo. He had previously played five seasons with the San Jose Sharks (2003-2009) and two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (2009-2011) before joining the Sabres in 2011. In 613 career NHL games, including his time with the Sabres, Ehrhoff has 63 goals and 217 assists for 280 points, while also accumulating 419 penalty minutes and a plus-78 rating. In six trips to the playoffs (four with the Sharks and two with Vancouver), Ehrhoff has played 73 playoff games, scoring seven goals and adding 27 assists for 34 points. He also has 64 career playoff penalty minutes and a minus-12 rating.
After announcing the captains, Ron Rolston expressed why he made his decision.
"We just thought both guys represented what we wanted," said Rolston. "Nothing more, nothing less than that. It's all about the influence they have on the team. Those guys are big influences on the team. We thought that was the way to go."
Both Ott and Vanek also voiced their thoughts on being named as the team's captains.
"It's a tremendous honor, the ultimate honor to wear the C for this team," Ott said.
"Obviously it means a lot to be representing this great organization with Steve and Christian," said Vanek. "It's an honor but as I've told the guys, this letter doesn't mean much if we don't do anything as a group."
With the captains now named, the Sabres will open the 2013-2014 season in Detroit on Wednesday, Oct. 2 against the Detroit Red Wings.