The final piece of the Checkers’ leadership roles came today, with head coach Ulf Samuelsson announcing that Patrick Brown and Matt Tennyson will be serving as the alternate captains for the 2016-17 season.
“Both guys have very good leadership qualities,” said Samuelsson. “They prepare themselves very well, they are well liked by their peers and they both have big roles on the team. I think they’ll be excellent captains.”
The decision comes after Samuelsson employed a captaincy rotation through the four-game road trip, with Trevor Carrick, Keegan Lowe, Patrick Dwyer, Brock McGinn, Roland McKeown and Jake Chelios also serving as alternates for a game.
The coaching staff used that trial period to evaluate its options. While every player listed above will assume some sort of leadership in the room, there was a core group of attributes they were looking for.
“It was a combination of things,” said Samuelsson. “A leadership role is, in my opinion, an undefined job description. You can be a great leader in many ways. But you have to be able to be held accountable and make people around you better and be liked by your teammates.”
This marks the second straight season the Brown will don an ‘A’ on his sweater, an impressive note for a third-year pro.
“It feels great,” said Brown. “We’ve got a lot of leadership guys on this team and we’ve got a really good squad. It’s an honor that I was chosen to help lead them.”
Brown’s game has taken leaps and bounds from his rookie year, going from 10 to 25 points as a sophomore and kicking off this season by producing at a point-per-game clip.
To no one’s surprise, the forward was one of the last players off the ice at practice this morning, putting in extra work with Hurricanes Director of Defensemen Development Glen Wesley.
“His work ethic is second to none,” said Samuelsson. “He’s a really good example for anyone in our game of how far you can come if you’re dedicated to your success. I saw Brown in his first two games up in Traverse City [prospect tournament in 2014] and from that game to this player here, it’s night and day. He’s really done himself a huge favor by becoming the best that he can be.”
Tennyson, on the other hand, is a newcomer to the organization this year, making a big enough impression to quickly earn the honor.
“Obviously it means a lot,” said the fifth-year defenseman. “For me it’s more about leading by example and playing well and helping the younger guys. Anything off the ice that I can help with is a part of it as well.”
After spending the first four years of his pro career in the San Jose system, Tennyson, who has logged 56 NHL games in the past two seasons, inked a deal with the Hurricanes this offseason, much to the pleasure of the organization.
“We were really excited when he signed with us,” said Samuelsson. “He had a number of teams to pick from. He’s a top-end AHL player with a good resume and he’s played really well for us so far.”
Tennyson joins a blue line that is both very young and very talented, and has taken it upon himself to step up.
“It’s a lot of trust from the coaching staff for me to be that leader on the back end,” said Tennyson. “I’m the oldest one back there, so I want to lead the younger guys and show them the way to play the pro style, how to approach things.”
Heading into their first test on home ice this season, the Checkers will have a solid leadership core leading the way.
“They’re both great locker room guys and they’re really hard workers on the ice,” said Brown. “I think we’re a team that leads by example. We expect to have a really good year.”
In other roster news, Andrew Miller cleared waivers at noon and has been assigned to Charlotte. His status for this weekend will be updated after tomorrow’s morning skate.