The NHL offseason has finally started to settle down after a lot of craziness back in late June thanks to the expansion draft.

The excitement continued into July with free agency starting on Canada Day.



Which #NHL team has improved the most since the end of last season?

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Now that all of the big-name free agents (besides Jagr) have been signed, things are finally starting to slow down.

With that in mind, we wanted to use this as an opportunity to offer up some candidates for the captain vacancies in the NHL.

Only six teams don't have a captain right now (Toronto, Carolina, Arizona, Vegas, Buffalo, Nashville), but all six teams have some great candidates to fill that role.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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Auston Matthews is the obvious and correct choice to be the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yes, he'll be just 20-year-old in September, but teams haven't hesitated in the past to give the "C" to the guy they consider to be their franchise player (see Colorado, Edmonton).

If the Leafs don't decide to go in that direction, though, Morgan Rielly could be another option.

Carolina Hurricanes

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It's very hard to believe that Jeff Skinner is just 25-years-old, but he is and he's coming off of a season in which he scored a career-high 37 goals.
Simply put, it's time for Carolina to give him the "C" and let him be the face of their franchise.

Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk are two other players that should be considered, but Skinner is heading into his prime and he should be leading the way for the upstart Hurricanes.

Arizona Coyotes

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Shane Doan is gone and the Coyotes need a captain now.  They should look no further than Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Not only is he Arizona's best player, but because the roster is so young now he's actually a "veteran" and next season will be his eighth with the Coyotes.  

The eventual turnaround for Arizona starts by giving Ekman-Larsson the "C."

Vegas Golden Knights

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The fourth vacancy won't be easy to fill, and it wouldn't surprise us if Vegas doesn't name a captain this season.

That said, we're giving candidates and if we had to pick a captain for Vegas right now, it would probably be James Neal.

The former Penguin and Predator knows what it takes to win, he's been around some incredible leaders (Crosby, Fisher) and he's played in a Stanley Cup final.

Buffalo Sabres

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Brian Gionta wasn't re-signed by the Sabres, so they'll need to name a new captain and they have a lot of great candidates.

Obviously the youth route is there with Jack Eichel, but unlike the Leafs, the Sabres have a couple of talented veteran players that would be more suitable to wear the "C."

Jason Pominville is back in Buffalo and he's one of the veterans that will be probably be considered to be the captain of the team, especially since he wore the "C" for two seasons with the Sabres (2011-12, 2012-13).

He's not our pick, though.  No, we would go with Ryan O'Reilly.  Buffalo gave up quite a bit to get him and he's been solid for the Sabres.  The scary part is he's just 26-years-old.

Nashville Predators

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Right now, the Predators don't have a captain, either, as Mike Fisher is an unrestricted free agent and he may retire.

Assuming that happens, Roman Josi should take over and wear the "C" for the Predators.

The Predators felt good enough about Josi that they traded their captain Shea Weber, so it only makes sense for them to name him captain if in fact Fisher isn't back with the team.