In July Lou Lamoriello was quoted as saying “I would not be surprised if we did not have a captain next year”. Frankly that’s not a bad call for the Leafs as their budding talent demonstrated serious leadership, even into the playoffs. As of now, they have a winning formula on the ice and in the dressing room. Why fix something that isn’t broken? The addition of Patrick Marleau, and Dominic Moore have added so many intangibles in the locker room, nothing formal needs to be done.
Currently the implication is that Auston Matthews will be the captain of the Leafs. This likely will happen within the next few seasons, but they do not need to rush it. A Leafs captain holds a heavy burden, especially in terms of the Toronto media and the fan base itself. The unforgiving position can put unnecessary pressure for players and Matthews does not need that in this point of his career. Scoring 40 goals and 69 points was a huge achievement for the young center and should be a stepping stone for an even more productive 2018 campaign. Everyone in Toronto wishes for Matthews, and by proxy
Many people believe in the sophomore slump. I don’t believe Matthews will hit this wall, due to his size, skill, and plethora of young teammates. The young rookie squad may take a step back in a few aspects, whether it is forcing plays or loss of confidence. Nylander, Marner, Matthews, Hyman, Brown, and Kapanen all had stellar outings for the Leafs and should continue to develop as great players. This is part of the growing pains in the NHL, and is definitely not a problem long term. But don’t fret, the skies are blue in Toronto, as we may finally have a contender team wearing the blue and white.
As Lamorello stated, generating a captain is not a priority for the franchise.This in my opinion is great news for the Leafs. They were the only team this season to make the playoffs without a Captain and one of two teams in the league without a captain. The other being Carolina, after trading Eric Staal.
Many people are anxiously waiting to see the return of the Leafs already and I am one of them. Lets go buds.