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Youth is serving

Tampa Bay's Lecavalier earns NHL record with captaincy

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Posted: Monday March 27, 2000 09:59 PM

  Vincent Lecavalier Vincent Lecavalier is only the fifth captain in Lightning history. Rick Stewart /Allsport

By Ryan Hunt,

There's little doubt that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the middle of a youth movement.

The Bolts have only three players older than 27. The coach, Steve Ludzik, is only 37. So it's apropos the Lightning have the youngest captain in NHL history.

Vincent Lecavalier, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, already has earned the "C" at the age of 19 years and 11 months -- nearly two years faster than any player in NHL history.

Detroit's Steve Yzerman had previously held the honor, earning the Red Wings' captaincy 13 years ago at the age of 21 years, 5 months.

Lecavalier, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound center, officially became Tampa Bay's captain following Chris Gratton's trade to the Buffalo Sabres on March 10. Lecavalier had served as interim captain for seven games earlier this season, when Gratton was recovering from a foot injury.

Oh Captain, Young Captain
Youngest team captains in NHL history
Name  Team  Age  Year 
Vincent Lecavalier  Lightning  19 yrs, 11 mth  2000-pres 
Steve Yzerman  Red Wings  21 yrs, 5 mth  1986-pres 
Ryan Walter  Capitals  21 yrs, 6 mth  1979-82 
Dale Hawerchuk  Jets  21 yrs, 6 mth  1984-89 
Trevor Linden  Canucks  21 yrs, 6 mth  1991-97 
Kirk Muller  Devils  21 yrs, 8 mth  1987-91 
Eric Lindros  Flyers  21 yrs, 8 mth  1994-pres 
Paul Kariya  Ducks  22 yrs   1996-pres 
Wilf Paiement  Rockies  22 yrs   1977-78 
Dave Maloney  Rangers  22 yrs, 2 mth  1978-80 
Bryan McCabe  Islanders  22 yrs, 4 mth  1997-98 
Year=Earned captaincy; Source=NHL

Coincidentally, Lecavalier isn't even the youngest player to put on a Lightning sweater. That honor belongs to Gratton, Tampa Bay's top pick in the '93 draft, who played his first game with the Lightning in 1993 at the age of 18 years, 3 months and 1 day.

Lecavalier didn't suit up for Tampa Bay until the age of 18 years, 5 months and 18 days.

The Lightning, however, didn't even have a full-time captain when Gratton arrived. Paul Ysebaert became the Bolts' first captain on Oct. 4, 1995, three seasons after the team began play in the NHL.

Only Ysebaert, Mikael Renberg, Rob Zamuner, Gratton and Lecavalier have earned the coveted "C" in club history.

It was Renberg's captaincy (1997-98) that also earned Tampa Bay part of an odd NHL honor. When the Lightning met Toronto and Mats Sundin, it marked the first time in league history both teams were captained by Swedes

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