Look, we kid because we love and you’re adorable when you get angry.
That said, Mats Sundin was truly a Nordiques legend and that carries a lot of weight so when he says that he likes Auston Matthews that’s worth noting. I’m going to apologize in advance that the source of the Sundin information is from a Rosie DiManno article, so you’ve been told that up front if you choose to read the source information.
“I won’t compare him to me,” he states firmly. “I will say it’s fantastic watching him play, seeing a young man maturing, developing even from last year, and he’s hardly even started his career yet. I have him right up there with Connor McDavid. The Leafs have waited so long to have a young franchise player to build around. He’s that player.’’
“In my book, he’s obviously the right person to be captain, no doubt about that. He leads on the ice and you can tell he’s a good man off the ice.”
“The rah-rah and the screaming in the dressing room, a lot of that is a myth. There are times when good leaders say something in the dressing room. But most of it comes by showing responsibility, being the best you can be on the ice.”
Strong sentiments from a player that Toronto loved, but never loved enough to find a decent winger for him.
As for Matthews it seems all but certain that he’ll be anointed the next Leafs captain at some point in the near future, likely the next time a new jersey needs to unveiled or an outdoor game needs to be announced, or in the much more likely scenario of being part of renaming the Air Canada Centre to the Scotiabank Arena. Slapping a Matthews captaincy announcement onto that event might draw an audience the new building overlords could get behind.
Cynicism aside, this will be a great honour for a deserving player when it happens. You can’t really make a strong case for any other Leafs deserving it more, and like Sundin says, it’s largely about being that guy exemplifies greatness on the ice, and that ain’t Roman Polak.
While the captaincy may not be an important thing for all of us, I can’t help but think it’s better to get this sorted out sooner rather than later. When Matthews skates up to Bettman to receive the cup in June it will be better optically if he has a ‘C’ on his sweater.