While the Captain of a team may be somewhat overrated, it is definitely a very important role on the team. A captain has a tremendous amount of responsibility to live up. They must be a great player on the ice, whether it be offensively or defensively. It also helps if they are well liked by fans, because they can become the face of the franchise.
If we look at the last two Blues captains since the last lockout, they did not necessarily meet all of the above criteria. Immediately after the strike the captain was Dallas Drake, and then it was Eric Brewer, before the C was eventually given to Backes. The team was very poor under both Drake and Brewer. Whether this can be attributed to their qualifications as captain can not be for certain, but they were neither as talented nor effective as Backes is. Dallas Drake was a veteran, and super hard worker who was willing to defend his teammates, so he was probably a great influence on his fellow players, but his offensive numbers were lacking. His lack of production combined with the fact that his tenure as a Blue was not that long meant he was not necessarily a fan favorite, though he was well liked. Eric Brewer was a veteran defenseman who was the whipping boy of the franchise due to his occasional terrible turnovers, screening of his own goalie, and his tendency to blow a tire more often then the rest his teammates. His on ice production was questionable and it was a puzzling decision to most fans when he was given the C.
David Backes on the other hand seems to meet all of the categories mentioned above. He consistently is among the Blues leaders in Goals, Points, and PIM. He is also very good in his own end, and plays on both the penalty kill and power play. He is emotional and not afraid to defend his teammates, so he has earned their respect. He has won the hearts of fans for the above mentioned reasons and the fact that he broke into the NHL with the Blues. He also helps out in the community, such as visiting the children’s hospital, and David’s Dogs to help strays. This work provides solid promotion for the franchise in general. David Backes seems to be able to offer the superior leadership the Blues have been lacking since Pronger and Macinnis left during the past lockout, and has the franchise back on it’s feet and winning games again.