Senators head coach: 'It's time' to name captain

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Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith hopes his club will have a new leader in time for the 2021-22 season.

"We hope to, but that's a decision with (owner) Mr. (Eugene) Melnyk and (general manager) Pierre Dorion," Smith told Postmedia's Bruce Garrioch. "But we feel we're at that time now where we're as close as we've been to naming a guy. It's time for someone to be the leader of this group."

The Senators haven't had a captain since the 2017-18 season. Erik Karlsson wore the "C" for four years before he was traded to the San Jose Sharks.

Smith believes choosing a captain will help his young core take the next step.

"I just think there has to be a face to it. We have plenty of guys who are leaders and could be captains, but I just think if you look at the Stanley Cup winners, they all have captains and they've had the same captain for three, four, five years," Smith said. "It's the voice of that team, the direction of that team and I think the real successful teams have their captains for a long time.

"We want to be that kind of hockey team."

Defenseman Thomas Chabot has seven years remaining on an eight-year extension signed in 2019 and is likely to be among the leading candidates given his reputation around the league and role with the club. Another option would be Brady Tkachuk, who is widely regarded as the heart and soul of Ottawa's attack. However, he's currently a restricted free agent.

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Senators head coach: 'It's time' to name captain
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