Bryce Salvador’s Winding, Bumpy Road To Captain

Bryce Salvador’s journey the Devils captain is fairly captivating. He spent a full five years in juniors, sandwiched around being a sixth-round draft pick of the Lightning in 1994. After completing his overage year, he spent the next three years playing at the AHL level before finally reaching the NHL in 2000 and spending most of the next seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues. Eventually shipped to the Devils during the 2008 season, Salvador fit in well on the Devils’ blueline until an inner-ear (cochlear) concussion wiped out his entire 2010-11 season and had him wondering if he would every play again.

(Note: I’ve excerpted a small section from the story below, but it’s really worth reading in its entirety.)

Via Tom Gulitti of The Record:

He demonstrated his resilience again two seasons ago, when two hits in a preseason game against Philadelphia triggered headaches and vertigo caused by the problem with his inner ear. He never gave up hope of resuming his career, however, and made it back last season to play in all 82 of the Devils’ regular season games and all 24 of their playoff contests.

…“It’s been a really interesting last two years for me personally to miss a season and not really now what was going to happen, what the future was going to be,” he said. “Then, the team has a good year last year and now to be named captain, I don’t know what the odds would have been for that in Vegas two years ago. But, that being said, it’s the team around you too that builds the captain. This organization, it’s the coaching staff, it’s the players, it’s management, in their own way they all have their say.

Corey Griffin

Salvador, who cited former teammate Al MacInnis as his biggest inspiration, is the first Devils defenseman to wear the “C’ since Scott Niedermayer took it over from a concussed Scott Stevens midway through the 2003-04 season. I like the selection of Salvador, who says his leadership style is much less in-your-face and more of the lead-by-example variety. I thought all week that he would be the one to get the C, especially after the way the whole Ilya Kovalchuk saga unfolded — not that Kovy was ever a real candidate in my eyes.  I think Salvador is a nice short-term captain, holding the place until someone like Zajac or Clarkson (if he re-signs) takes it over on a full-time basis in a couple years.

What do you think of the selection of Salvador as captain? Like it? Dislike it? Vote below!