Ok, so 1 3/4 of a season has past us by and The Maple Leafs still have not named a captain. The current circumstances that the teams three alternates find themselves in, have almost eliminated the chances of the "C" being stitch on their jerseys.
Thomas Kaberle season has been good statistically. He went into the Olympic break with 46 points and sits third in the league for defense men in that category. Unfortunately for Kaberle his days in the blue and white are winding down . Toronto has a lot of money invested in there blue line and are in desperate need of a center who can play with Phil Kessel. Trading Kaberle for a player like Steven Weiss or Derek Roy that may be available in the off season, looks like the leafs only option in acquiring a center.
If Kaberle remains, why would the leafs want him as a captain anyways?
No disrespect to Kaberle, but he is a family man first and a hockey player second. At his age he would rather keep his family in the area and play for a rebuilding team, then have two shots at the cup on a contending team in the next fifteen months. This attitude clearly shows that Kaberle does not want to win the cup, and this attitude is not a characteristic of any of the great captains in league history.
It was often speculated in Montreal that Mike Komisarek had the potential to replace Koivu as captain of Les Habitant before bolting to Toronto as a UFA. I truly believed that in Komisarek the Leafs acquired an heart and soul type of player. Not the most skilled D in the league, but one who made up for his shortcomings by wearing his heart on his sleeve, game in and game out. A style of play the Leafs have been lacking in a captain since Mats Sundin took over the captaincy from Doug Gilmore.
Unfortunately for Komisarek, he was the prized UFA of a hockey crazed city. Expectations were high and the pressure got to him. Early on he started to do too much and drifted away from a simpler game that made him successful in Montreal. Komisarek just began to get back to this style of play in weeks prior to his shoulder injury that will keep him out for the remainder or the year. It is highly unlikely that he will be named captain after ending his season on the IR.
Francois Beauchemin is probably the most likely candidate of the three. After a very shaky start, his game is starting to come around. He is signed long term and is a veteran presence on a very young team. He could potentially be playing along side Dion Phaneuf as the Leafs shut down pair for the next three seasons.
I believe that if Kaberle gets traded the potential of Beauchemin being named captain in the offseason increases. However, if Leafs management waits to see who comes firing out of the gate next season, I think guys like Phaneuf, Schenn, and Komisarek will out play Beauchemin and limit his chances of being named captain.
So the question is, who's it going to be and when?
This team disparately needs a leader to emerge.