The San Jose Sharks will enter training camp without a captain or any assistants.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said he didn't consider the move to be stripping former captain Joe Thornton of the "C" because the veteran would have an opportunity to earn the designation back.
"We're starting this year with a clean slate," said McLellan. "Coming into training camp, everyone is starting with no equity – from rookies through all of the veterans."
Patrick Marleau will also have the "A" removed from his jersey.
Thornton had served the Sharks captain since taking the position over from Rob Blake in 2010. Blake served for one year after Marleau was the team's captain from 2004-09.
Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News late on Wednesday, Thornton expressed his surprise at the decision.
"It's a big honour, and it's a big responsibility," Thornton said, "so it's a little strange when they take it away from you."
For Marleau, the move represents a chance to prove his worth to the organization.
"I will do what I have always done," Marleau told the newspaper. "Play hard, be professional on and off the ice, lead by example. That is why I will be wearing a letter after training camp."
McLellan told the Mercury News that the competition to earn the leadership roles is wide open.
"Thornton could end up being the captain. I don't know, none of us know," McLellan said. "If it's real evident he's the guy, he'll be the captain. If there's somebody else that assumes that role and is prepared to take it on and doing a very good job, then he'll be."
The Sharks were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season after blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings.
Surgery for Torres
The Sharks also announced on Wednesday that forward Raffi Torres had a second surgery on his right knee to fight an infection and will eventually need a third procedure to repair ACL damage.
The team said that Torres will return during the coming season but there is no timeline yet.
Torres missed all but five regular season games in 2013-14 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in the preseason.