Matthews or Tavares? How about neither!
The answer to the Matthews or Tavares question may actually be neither. Morgan Rielly has been here for the long haul, If not the “C” I nominate him for the Purple Heart.
He’s Toronto’s leader on the back end and wears the alternate “A” as it stands right now. His 2018/19 Norris form has also drawn more eyes on him for general recognition and to fill the vacant team captain role.
As of right now, Rielly leads what many view as an unorthodox at best defensive core. Good enough for regular season success but how effective can this group be in a deep playoff run? If they had six Rielly’s, or even just a second, they’d be way better off.
He’s guaranteed to be a Leaf for three seasons after this year, and if Toronto’s upper management didn’t try to kick him down for the rest of his career after I’d be shocked.
He’s been a key player in the ongoing glory years on the Leafs but also was riding shotgun in the 18-wheeler driving off a cliff, and also represented hope as a top-tier draftee. No one on the roster knows what it takes to be a Maple Leaf more than him, and that has to count for something.
NEXT PAGE: Are there any other viable captains?