Coach Alan Richardson has named Jarryn Geary, David Armitage and Jack Steven as potential leadership replacements after St Kilda AFL legend Nick Riewoldt's likely move to hand over the captaincy at the end of this season.
The AFL's longest-serving skipper told the Nine Network this week he expected this season would be his last in charge of the Saints, even though it would leave him agonisingly short of a record.
"I think it is time," he said.
"I certainly hope between now and the rest of the year someone puts their hand up and takes the job next year."
Riewoldt will edge ahead of the late Ted Whitten in third place on the list of all-time games played as an AFL captain when he leads St Kilda for the 213rd time against Essendon on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.
He will be on 220 games if he plays every match for the rest of the season, six behind Carlton's Steve Kernahan and four short of the Bombers' Dick Reynolds.
Richardson said Riewoldt's decision was a sign of his "incredible selflessness".
"He embraces the role and he's as impressive a leader as I've ever worked with," he told reporters on Friday.
"The reality is that it's probably getting to that time where we need someone else to come through.
"It would be great for that leader to have Nick at least for another year to work with him so I think something like that will happen.
"I think he would be disappointed if we hadn't identified someone for 2017 to be our skipper."
Richardson said Geary, Armitage and Steven had each shown good leadership when filling in.
He also admitted he was not sure when young forward Paddy McCartin would be medically cleared to play again, although it would be this year.
Richardson pointed out the shaken Saint had passed the concussion test that would have allowed him to resume last weekend against Gold Coast.
"All the initial tests are positive. Some of the external tests with neurologists are ongoing, but he's heading in a positive direction," Richardson said.
"We'll be a bit more cautious given it's his third one (concussion).
"I'm not sure when Paddy will be back. We think it will be much sooner rather than later and he will play significant footy for us this year."