I was thinking about the loss of Hannan's veteran presence in the wake of losing the same from Tucker and Lappy in recent years and probably old man Foote after this year. That leaves a substantial vacuum in that area of the team, but is that necessarily bad?
Yes. I believe it is a negative in the short term. Our youngsters have shown a lot of heart, determination, and even maturity, but it is possible they will come up short in the next few years in a playoff series where veteran leadership might have tipped the scales the other way.
My other thought, though, was that the vacuum may be necessary to foster the growth of leadership in our young team.
It must be difficult to emerge as a leader in a room that has Adam Foote and Lappy in it. Given the slightly deferential style to which hockey players are inclined (multiply by 3 for Stastny), it would seem that stepping out as a leader would be difficult in such environs. "Excuse me Mr. Foote, but those of us who still live in your basement have something to say."
Stastny's case is a clear example of that, for me. He was anointed early as a Sakic successor and family bearer of the leadership torch, yet I could never quite picture him in that role. That is until this year. He seems to me to have really emerged this year, somehow, I think drawing from Foote's leadership, Sakic's example and even a bit of Dutchy's youthful exuberance and confidence, he seems far more ready to slap on a C than he did even last spring.
We have seen, I think, that this regime is gifted at allowing talent to emerge on the ice, tempering opportunity with criticism and competition and consistently conveying high expectations. Teams often seem to trade, in part, for this quality. I've always thought that must feel awkward on both sides "Hello new guy I have no relationship with. I read in the paper where you have been brought in to lead and mentor us. Nice to meet you."
While we have focused a lot on fostering talent and skill, one of the longterm benefits to this young team's growth, may be the rapid growth of our future leaders in these fertile yet roomy circumstances.