It's always fun to see if there are any additions to the Flyers' leadership group of Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds ahead of each season.
The team announced its captains Tuesday night and there's one change. Sean Couturier is the alternate captain for home games, a role held last season by Valtteri Filppula, who signed with the Islanders this summer.
In a total shocker (kidding), Giroux is the Flyers' captain, while Simmonds is the alternate captain at all times with Andrew MacDonald serving as an alternate captain on the road, like he did last season.
The 30-year-old has been the Flyers' captain since January 2013. He is currently the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia, going back to the 2008. Giroux is not a rah-rah speech kind of guy, but his actions speak volumes. Every single player looks up to him by the example he sets. He is truly admired.
With the Flyers since the 2011-12 season, there's no doubt Simmonds is the heart and soul of the team. The respect for him around the league is enormous. He'll fight anyone for any teammate, the first to stand up when one of his guy's takes a hit. It's remarkable what he played through last season (see story). He can become a free agent after this season and you can bet his leadership will come into play for the Flyers.
The veteran defenseman is really well respected within the locker room. Teammates see his professionalism and how he acts, day to day, throughout a season. The front office and coaching staff love the quality of person he is and head coach Dave Hakstol values his presence. "It's that time of game where crap hits the fan a little bit and you just need somebody to settle things in and Mac's one of the guys that can do that for us," Hakstol said during training camp.
After his breakout 2017-18 season, Couturier has begun to take on a leadership role with the Flyers. The 25-year-old has been with the club since the 2011-12 season. When he played through a torn MCL in his right knee at the end of the postseason last year, you saw a leader blossoming. "I try to lead in any way I can," Couturier said after the first-round playoff exit to the Penguins. "More by example, I should say. I'm not really the guy who's going to yell or talk often. I try to lead by example. Maybe show the new guys, I should say young guys, how the game should be played."