The Toronto Maple Leafs have made it crystal clear that they intend to name a new captain for their team prior to the start of the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season. One thing they have not made clear however is any information regarding the potential identity of the player who will step into one of the toughest jobs in the entire NHL given the unique pressures of the Toronto market.
Now sure Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has had plenty to say on the topic of the future captain of the Maple Leafs, but never has the veteran head coach even come close to letting an actual hint slip out to the media. Babcock recently did say however that once the announcement is made it will likely be one that should have been obvious to all of us from the very beginning.
"Yeah, you know what, what’s interesting about captaincies? It’s really interesting to me," said Babcock as per the Athletic. "When you name a captain, if you do it right, the players think they picked him, the owner thinks he picked him, the manager thinks he picked him, the coach thinks he picked him because it’s obvious to you. It’s all the same guy. I have a strong feeling in the end that’s what it’ll be like here."
Well on Saturday night the Maple Leafs' bench boss may have, for the very first time, hinted at some of the names that the Maple Leafs might currently be considering for the position. The Maple Leafs are playing the Detroit Red Wings tonight and with a nearly complete complement of players on the ice the Leafs chose to send 3 of them out with an "A" on their jersey this evening. What is interesting here is that all 3 of the men selected are men who have exhibited leadership qualities, and perhaps even more interesting was one player who was not given the assignment tonight.
According to Toronto Maple Leafs beat reporter the Leafs alternate captains are John Tavares, one of the favorites to be named captain of the team, Morgan Rielly, another player many feel is well deserving of the "C" on his chest, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly the final "A" of the night went to veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin.
Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews has been the favorite to win the job since he was selected 1st overall in the NHL Entry Draft, but you have to wonder if his recent troubles, troubles that embarrassed the organization no less, may have bumped him down in the eyes of the organization somewhat.
Muzzin, Rielly and Tavares are all good candidates, although Muzzin seems unlikely given his contract status, and I certainly could see the Leafs picking their next captain among these 3.