Dion Phaneuf trade: Who should be Leafs' next captain?

With the departure of captain Dion Phaneuf in Tuesday's trade with Ottawa, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to decide which player to name their 19th captain.

Toronto looks for next leader after dealing high-profile defenceman

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf was traded to the Ottawa Senators, which leaves a big leadership hole for a team that is struggling to re-establish itself. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

After trading Dion Phaneuf to the rival Ottawa Senators in a blockbuster nine-player trade on Tuesday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a vacancy at captain.

General manager Lou Lamoriello said the Leafs would not name the 19th captain in team history immediately, instead opting to stick with alternates for the rest of the season. But it still begs the question of who will get the perhaps unenviable task of taking over Phaneuf's leadership role on a team in the midst of rebuilding.

Here are a few candidates. Vote for your choice in the poll below.

Tyler Bozak already dons the "A," so it's not much of a stretch to see a promotion in his future. With 21 helpers this season, the centre is tied with the departing captain for the team assist lead and is second in scoring with 31 points. 

Morgan Rielly is highly touted as a core part of Toronto's future. The 21-year-old is the club's strongest blue-liner, but would the pressure be too much, too soon for the young star?

Leo Komarov, who leads the team in scoring with 33 points, is another candidate. Despite the Leafs' dismal season, the centre has already passed last year's points total in his best campaign to date. 

Joffrey Lupul has been plagued by injury throughout his Leafs tenure, but the veteran winger is one of the few remaining players that brings experience to the squad. 

James van Riemsdyk would likely lead the team in scoring were it not for a fractured foot that will see him miss two months. The winger is generally regarded as one of Toronto's few "untouchable" pieces.

The Leafs, of course, don't have to choose any of the above players, and could wait for another player to come along. Montreal went the entire 20014-15 season without a captain, and it's not mandatory to name one.

Let us know in our poll which direction you think the Leafs should go.


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