With so many returning players from last season, it’s no surprise that the Checkers’ leadership group remained intact.
The team announced its captains for the 2012-13 season on Friday, with two players set to keep letters on their jerseys from last season. Brett Sutter will begin his second season as the team’s captain when the team opens its regular season on Saturday, while Nicolas Blanchard starts his fifth consecutive season as an alternate.
Both Sutter and Blanchard, 25-year-olds who were born two days apart, are entering their sixth full professional seasons. This will be Sutter’s third in the Carolina organization, while Blanchard, Carolina’s sixth-round draft pick in 2005, has played for the Hurricanes’ top minor-league affiliate throughout his career.
In addition, Chris Terry and Bobby Sanguinetti will split ownership of a second alternate captain position, with Terry wearing the letter during road games and Sanguinetti during games at Time Warner Cable Arena. The two take over for Chris Durno, who was a full-time alternate last season prior to departing as a free agent.
Terry, last year’s leading scorer who is set to begin his fourth pro campaign, was often the first player to assume an alternate position last season whenever Sutter, Blanchard and/or Durno were out due to injury or recalls to the NHL level. Sanguinetti, a fifth-year pro coming off his best statistical season yet, had not filled a captaincy position with the team prior to this season.
Due to the lopsided nature of the Checkers' early schedule, Sutter, Blanchard and Terry will form the official leadership group for the first nine games of the season as the team embarks on a record-tying road trip this weekend. Sanguinetti's turn won't come until Sunday, Nov. 4, when the Checkers finally host their first home against Chicago.