In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon TSN’s Bob McKenzie shared an interview with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas in which the former grilled the latter over contract extensions for William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, the team’s free agent pursuit of John Tavares and the team’s vacant captaincy.
Check it out:
ICYMI: With an elite hometown centre, a good core of young players, a bright young executive and a serious shot at a Stanley Cup , a lot of eyes are fixed on the Maple Leafs this season.
First off… negotiations with Nylander are progressing and it’s expected that the team will ink him to a long-term deal ahead of the opening of training camp later this month. As for Matthews and Marner, both players have a deal in place for 2018-19 so there’s no rush to get them inked anytime soon, but Dubas did say that they’re big pieces of the team’s future and that the team hopes to sign them in Toronto for the rest of their career. If Matthews and Marner can’t be signed before the start of the 2018-19 season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a new deal couldn’t be struck up mid-season.
Now, the question on everyone’s mind: Who will wear the “C”?
When asked point blank if the team will have a captain in 2018-19, Dubas’ answer was blunt, “Not from the outset,” he replied.
“It’s a very important honour, I think, to be the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs or any team that has a strong history. I want to get into it day to day with these people to see who’s best suited to handle that if we determine that we need somebody to handle that because we have a void in leadership.”
Dubas would go on to say, “I do feel like we have excellent leadership in the room with Patrick Marleau and Ron Hainsey being the veteran-most leaders. Adding John Tavares certainly helps. He has experience as a captain as does Patty (Marleau). It’s a very important decision and not one that I think can be rushed whatsoever…”
So, it’s clear that the Leafs won’t take to the ice with a captain to start the 2018-19 season. But, could they instil one as the season wears on?
“We’ll continue to evaluate as the season evolves…”
So you’re saying there’s a chance!?
Regardless of who ends up wearing the “C” in Toronto, Dubas is correct in that the team is full of quality leaders. Both Tavares and Marleau have considerable experience as NHL captains and youngsters like Marner and Matthews look to be cut from the same cloth. Who’s your pick, Leafs fans?