It’s the first day of the 2018 Training Camp and news is coming out left and right about the upcoming Leafs season. Firstly, per Darren Dreger of TSN, the alternate captains for this season will be John Tavares, Patrick Marleau, and Morgan Rielly.
During our sitdown interview, Mike Babcock said Marleau, Tavares and Reilly will wear a letter for the Maple Leafs this season.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 13, 2018
The Leafs will be without a captain for the third full season – ever since they traded away Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa back in the middle of the 2015-16 season.
Patrick Marleau has served as a captain for five total seasons with the Sharks, so he has plenty of experience wearing a letter on his jersey. He’s also one of the oldest members of the Leafs, so naturally, teams like to view those players as their leadership groups.
Tavares has been the captain for the last five seasons of his Islanders career, ever since the 2013-14 season. So, of course, he will be a good option for a leadership role – he has already been rumoured to be a main contender for the captaincy role.
This will be Morgan Rielly’s third season wearing an “A” on his sweater. Ever since he has been an alternate captain, they made the playoffs. No coincidence there at all.
To some, the Leafs are making a correct decision in waiting until a leadership group naturally forms. Give it to the experienced players and then see in a year or two if one single player should be named captain.
Dubas mentioned in his interview with Bob McKenzie, that teams that wait for captaincy usually have better success with their captain and a better leadership group altogether.
Another captainless year is not the end of the world.