NHL: The best captain in each team’s history (Updated 2023)

NHL (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)
NHL (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images) /
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The face of an NHL franchise. A leader inside and outside the locker room. An elite NHL player that exemplifies greatness in every way, shape, and form. Of course, I’m talking about just a few of the characteristics that define what a captain of a hockey team is all about.

These amazing players wear that capital C on their jerseys with pride as once you’ve earned that title, it stays with you not only for the rest of your career but in life. So far in the bright history of the NHL, there has been a great number of players to be given that captain title. But who were the best of the best when it came to their respective franchise?

Many criteria went into deciding which captain, especially on classic teams that have had so many, went into the process. Many here were chosen due to their contributions to winning a Stanley Cup championship and others, even though they never got to raise the cup, still had a massive impact on being the impact players to keep pushing the envelope.

It wasn’t easy to narrow down such a list but here are the best captains in every NHL team’s history. Some are legends of the past and some will be legends of the future. Either way, let’s begin breaking down each team’s pick and why this particular player stood ahead of other captains on their respective teams.

Editor’s Note: Updated for the 2022/2023 NHL season

Boston Bruins, Ray Bourque
Boston Bruins, Ray Bourque (Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images) /

Best NHL captain from each franchise: Boston Bruins – Ray Bourque

When it comes to naming the most dominant defensemen, it’s hard to have such a conversation without heavily mentioning Ray Borque. The Boston Bruins captain was given this title back in 1985 and made the most of it, being a force to reckon with for over two decades on the team.

Bourque proudly displayed that C on his jersey until 2000 and broke many NHL records during his tenure. He still owns the NHL records for most career goals, points, and assists for a defenseman and even won the James Norris Memorial Trophy five times. That’s unheard of for a defenseman and will be something that more than likely won’t be broken anytime soon.

Not only was Bourque an amazing captain for the Bruins but also did his part to represent Canada as an Olympian, further proving why he was one of the best to ever do it. Even though some fans still won’t forgive the Bruins for trading him away towards the end of his career, he’s still fondly remembered for everything he bought to the table.

Bourque embodied everything that goes into being a captain and still serves as a shining example of leadership, efficiency, and always giving it your all day in, day out. Considered one of the greatest NHL players of all-time, Bourque will always be known as a Bruin in the hearts of millions.