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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders are not rushing into naming a new captain.
The Islanders traded captain Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph to the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Dec. 27. Joseph had been the team’s captain since September 2017. They dealt assistant captain Keith Getson to Halifax on Dec. 22.
Brendon Clavelle and Brett Budgell are remaining assistant captains while the team has rotated the third A between veterans Hunter Drew and Daniel Hardie.
“We’ll see what the next couple of weeks brings,” head coach Jim Hulton said.
It is possible a captain emerges, but Hulton is also contemplating asking the league if it can have four assistants for the remainder of the season.
Hulton has been impressed with Drew and Hardie stepping up since the trades and said there is not a void of leadership inside the room.
Clavelle doesn’t see the lack of one player wearing the C as a big deal.
“If we have good leaders in the room and there’s four A’s I don't think it should matter,” he said.
While some of the leaders are gone, the impact they had will be felt well into the future.
“The whole room benefited from being around Keith and P.O. for a couple of years and to me it was leadership from being good people,” Hulton said.
“They weren’t the most vocal guys in the room by any stretch of the imagination, but they became leaders because they cared so much about their teammates and I think that’s rubbed off on our younger guys,” he added. “You can see the torch has been passed in terms of leadership and a lot of them are implementing the lessons they learned from Keith and P.O. now.”
Clavelle said he learned a lot from Joseph, Getson and Pascal Aquin last year.
“Those guys were great leaders,” he said. “P.O. took me under his wing, so it makes it a lot easier for us to lead this group.”
He said he won’t change his approach with his former teammates gone.
“I don't really worry about it,” he said. “I play my game, I try to have fun and keep it loose in the room.”
Hulton said there are other leaders in the room, particularly fourth-year Islander Matthew Welsh as well as Jordan Maher, who has five years of experience in the league and won the Memorial Cup last season.
“Welsh has always been a mainstay. If he wasn't a goaltender, he’d have a letter on,” he said.