Retiring with ‘C’ on your chest is kind of a big deal

When Bryce Salvador announced his retirement Wednesday, he did so with a distinction not shared by many players. Salvador hung up his skates as the captain of the New Jersey Devils, a testament to both his leadership skills and his enduring excellence.

It’s not often a player retires as captain of his team. Most times the player either gets shuffled off to another team to finish his career or his play declines to the point where the ‘C’ is taken away from him and given to a younger player. To retire as captain of a team indicates the kind of continuity, reciprocal loyalty and long-lasting relationship you don’t see very often.

It’s a distinction reserved for the truly great leaders such as Jean Beliveau, Mark Messier and Steve Yzerman. There have been teams that have never had a player retire as captain. Surprisingly, the Edmonton Oilers are one of them. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers are the others, but depending on how things play out with Ed Jovanovski, that might change.

Listed below are each NHL team and the last player who finished his career wearing its ‘C’ on his sweater. (A couple of notes. George Armstrong retired as a life-long Toronto Maple Leaf in 1969, but had been replaced as captain by Dave Keon by the time he quit. Chris Pronger played his last NHL game with the Philadelphia Flyers as captain, but hasn’t yet retired and, in fact, had his rights traded to the Arizona Coyotes.)

READ ALSO:  Scott Gomez retires as a two-time Stanley Cup champion

TEAM                                    CAPTAIN                                           FINAL SEASON
Anaheim                                Scott Niedermayer                              2009-10
Arizona                                  Lars-Erik Sjoberg                                1979-80
Boston                                  Terry O’Reilly                                       1984-85
Buffalo                                  Gilbert Perreault                                   1986-87
Calgary                                 Steve Smith                                         2000-01
Carolina                                Rod Brind’Amour                                 2009-10
Chicago                                Dirk Graham                                        1994-95
Colorado                               Adam Foote                                        2010-11
Columbus                             None
Dallas                                    J-P Parise                                           1978-79
Detroit                                   Nicklas Lidstrom                                  2011-12
Edmonton                             None
Florida                                   None
Los Angeles                          Bob Pulford                                          1971-72
Minnesota                             None
Montreal                                Bob Gainey                                         1988-89
Nashville                               Greg Johnson                                      2005-06
New Jersey                           Bryce Salvador                                    2014-15
NY Islanders                          Doug Weight                                       2010-11
NY Rangers                           Chris Drury                                          2010-11
Ottawa                                  Laurie Boschman                                 1992-93
Philadelphia                           Keith Primeau                                      2005-06
Pittsburgh                              Mario Lemieux                                    2005-06
St. Louis                                Al MacInnis                                          2003-04
San Jose                                Rob Blake                                           2009-10
Tampa Bay                             Tim Taylor                                           2007-08
Toronto                                   Ted Kennedy                                      1956-57
Vancouver                              Orland Kurtenbach                             1973-74
Washington                            Rod Langway                                     1992-93
Winnipeg                                Scott Mellanby                                    2006-07