Brayden Schenn Was Really The Only Choice St. Louis Blues Had

St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn (10)Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn (10)Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues sure made things interesting with their captaincy decision, when in reality they only had one, real choice. Though the Blues had several options, there was never much doubt as to who they would select, if they did hand out the “C” for 2023-24.

On September 19, 2023, Brayden Schenn was named as the franchise’s 24th captain in team history. He joined names like Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Bernie Federko, Alex Pietrangelo, David Backes and Ryan O’Reilly, just to name a few.

Yet, for all the hullabaloo surrounding the question of the captaincy, was there really another choice? There were options, sure, but it never felt like anyone else would actually get it.

The strongest case would be that of Robert Thomas. Even when O’Reilly was still captain, Doug Armstrong openly stated that Thomas was likely a captain in the future for the Blues.

The question was whether the general manager was willing to force Thomas into the role. Though Thomas has plenty of skill, he has not really earned that spot.

There are very few Blues fans that dislike Thomas. He has a decent personality, is a good hockey player and fits with the franchise very well.

However, it just never seemed like a good fit – at least not right now. Maybe Thomas will be a captain in the future, but it just didn’t feel right in this moment.

If you had asked this question a few years ago, almost nobody would have had an issue with the idea of Colton Parayko wearing the “C” on his sweater. Now, it seemed almost unthinkable.

Though management and the coaches still say all the right things, it can’t be ignored that trade requests were listened to regarding Parakyo at the 2023 trade deadline. It would have felt odd for the team to name a captain that very well might not have been here five months prior.

Having an outside shot at wearing the big letter was Justin Faulk. He’s earned the respect of many fans after a rough start and his teammates respond to him too. He was briefly the captain in Carolina, so he had experience. Yet, like the others, it would have felt strange if he got the nod over guys that had been here longer when he’s not lightyears above all of them in leadership categories.

In the end, choosing Schenn was almost always going to be the choice the team made. Frankly, I think it was either Schenn or nobody as the team seemed poised to go with nothing but rotating alternate captains.

The interesting thing about choosing Schenn is you can argue it was the team’s only choice. So, even if you don’t think he’s the right choice, what else could they do?

Those who have read my articles enough know I’m dubious of Schenn’s leadership skills. I think he’s a very good player, comes across as a quality person off the ice and gets along with most of his teammates.

My worry has always been that this is Alex Steen 2.0. When the Blues did not choose Steen for captain, the rumblings were he was involved in a locker room divide that was not squashed until Craig Berube put a stop to it.

In terms of verified information, we don’t have any true negatives said about Schenn. Yet, there was supposedly a problem with him and Vladimir Tarasenko after Schenn’s first season.

Maybe Schenn was in the right and maybe not. I don’t like players frustrations with teammates becoming public, so it felt odd for that kind of player to become team captain, just as it would have been odd to ever make Tarasenko captain when he was here.

However, the counter to that is that the Blues could not afford another locker room split. If you don’t give the “C” to Schenn, the worry is that his supporters don’t respond correctly to whomever you do name captain in that scenario.

Thus, picking Schenn was really the only choice. Having it take up until training camp is ready to start was a slightly odd decision, as it created tension outside of the team.

The fact the most likely choice was not selected right away seemed to send a message to the players that nobody was the clear pick. Yet, I don’t see Schenn feeling like he was the obligatory selection.

Perhaps he would have felt unjustly passed over if someone else was named captain or maybe he would have just continued on as he has the past few years. We won’t know at this point since he was named captain.

Schenn is a fine choice. He’ll make a good captain since the players already think of him as a leader anyway.

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However, there really wasn’t a choice to be made. Picking someone else always presented more problems than solutions, so Schenn was the easiest pick regardless.