NHL Rumours: Maple Leafs May Consider Switching Up Captaincy

Could There Be a New Captain in Toronto?

Tavares has been the captain of the Maple Leafs for five seasons, having been named the 25th captain in Leafs history ahead of the 2019-20 season, just one year after signing a $77M contract over seven years. Serving as alternate captains alongside him are Morgan Rielly, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner. Retired NHLer and former Maple Leaf Nick Kypreos believes there is traction on the idea that the Maple Leafs might strip Tavares of his captaincy.

“From what I’m hearing, the Leafs are contemplating taking the captaincy away from him and giving it to Auston. They will talk about it,” Kypreos said. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s real.”

NHL Predictions

If this happens, Matthews would become the 26th captain in franchise history and the first NHL captain of Latino descent, as his mother is of Mexican heritage. This rumor has some basis, as fans have suggested before that Matthews should replace Tavares as captain due to his commanding style of play and leadership abilities, evidenced by behind-the-scenes videos showing his influence in the locker room.

However, if the rumor were to come true, it raises questions about team morale. Tavares, 33, is a well-respected player, and stripping him of his captaincy could be seen as disrespectful. Typically, teams only change captains if a player retires or moves to another team, so such a decision would be uncommon and likely to attract significant media attention.

Tavares’ Future in Toronto

Drafted No. 1 overall by the Islanders in 2009, Tavares is heading into the final year of his current contract with the Leafs. He has scored 419 points in 440 games for the team and has been a valuable second-line center. There are quiet rumors about General Manager Brad Treliving shopping Tavares, but with a full no-move clause in his contract and earning more than his current market value, a trade in the last year of his deal seems unlikely.

Many are wondering if Tavares and the Maple Leafs will agree on an extension for next season. While it’s expected that Tavares would need to take a significant pay cut, both parties would need to agree on the terms and value of a new contract. Additionally, the GM must also focus on Marner and his expiring deal. Regardless, Tavares will have to block out the noise and focus on his performance as the current captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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