Leafs captain John Tavares celebrates a goal with Morgan Rielly
Photo credit: NHL

Leafs captain John Tavares has a surprising take on his new reduced role with the team

Published February 24, 2024 at 12:21
BY MIKE ARMENTI

It's been a few games now since the Leafs "demoted" captain John Tavares to the 3rd line, pairing him with Bobby McMann and Nicholas Robertson, and you know what? It seems to be working.

Tavares has goals in back-to-back games and seems to have rediscovered his ability to elevate his linemates, playing with the two first-year NHL regulars. In their last 2 games alone, Tavares, McMann and Robertson have combined for 8 points.

The Leafs' captain may be seeing a bit less ice time than he's used to over the past week or so, but he is taking on a role that he played to perfection on Long Island - helping to guide the team's young players and aiding them in finding success at the NHL level.

Earlier this week, Sheldon Keefe called this "an opportunity to embrace some of our younger guys, bring them along & support those guys with his leadership". During a recent interview with TSN's Mark Masters, Tavares' character and leadership qualities were on full display when talking about his reduced role.


"The team has been playing pretty well, so Keefer just wanted to kind of keep things rolling and [McMann and Robertson] are two guys who have obviously made great impacts for us all year and certainly have been playing some good hockey as of late... A great chance for me go out there and impact the game and help make them better and find chemistry with them too."

Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about Tavares being a consummate pro and putting the team first. I think that his attitude in all of this just shows his tremendous character and the fact that he has embraced this role is a pretty good indicator that he truly does put the team above himself and that he just wants to win. His attitude and his commitment to the team can help the Leafs do just that.

POLL
February 24   |   1557 answers
Leafs captain John Tavares has a surprising take on his new reduced role with the team

Do you think John Tavares can be a long-term solution for the Leafs at 3C?

Yes, he's been great there120377.3 %
No, he's still going to continue to decline15910.2 %
It's too early to say19512.5 %
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