The Seattle Kraken made official what many suspected, announcing Mark Giordano as the first captain in franchise history. Jordan Eberle, Yanni Gourde, Adam Larsson and Jaden Schwartz will all serve as alternates this season.
Giordano, 38, was an obvious selection for the Kraken when the Calgary Flames decided to leave him unprotected in the recent expansion draft. Despite his age and expensive contract, he also represents a true top-pairing defenseman who took home the Norris Trophy as recently as 2019. There was immediate speculation about whether the Kraken would flip him to another team, adding future assets instead of the veteran defenseman, but they have embraced him as the leader of their group instead.
The question now becomes how long he will actually serve as captain given Giordano’s contract expires at the end of this season. He’s still effective and is worthy of an extension, though it’s not even clear if he will want to play past this season, let alone do so in Seattle. Still, the decision to name him captain suggests that there is a good relationship between Giordano and the front office, perhaps pointing to him sticking around for a little while. The Vegas Golden Knights, for instance, decided not to name a captain right away, waiting for a player like Mark Stone, who was signed to a long-term deal instead.
At the very least, the Kraken start the year with a strong leadership group that can help market the game in Seattle. Giordano is well-respected around the league, and the quartet of alternates have quite a bit of NHL experience between them. Gourde and Schwartz are both recent Stanley Cup champions and should be huge parts of the team’s offensive unit. Larsson meanwhile signed a four-year deal to be a pillar of the team’s defense for the next several seasons. In fact, it’s in the alternates that there will be some stability. All four are signed for at least the next three seasons, with Eberle expiring first in 2024.