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Phaneuf to be next captain of the Maple Leafs

Apr 13, 2010, 5:09 PM EDT

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1-phaneuf.jpgThanks to James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail and The Fan 590 out of Toronto, we found out from Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson that he’s got his eyes on a captain for next year’s Maple Leaf squad and it’s none other than Sean Avery’s favorite zinger target, Dion Phaneuf.

“We wanted to let everything play out over time, let him get comfortable here, let him get to know everybody, everybody to get to know him, but right now I’d be perfectly comfortable with Dion as the captain of the team.”

That’s kind of a big deal for the still-rebuilding franchise as current captain Tomas Kaberle’s no-trade clause goes away now that Toronto has missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Kaberle, to his credit, is ready for anything.

“I’ll deal with whatever comes. I’ll do my best to be in my best shape. If it’s here, great, if not, I have to move on.”

Tough spot to be in for sure, but after rumors of being dealt for the last few seasons, perhaps Kaberle will be eager to get out of YYZ and off to another, more playoff ready location.  After all, it’s not as if the Maple Leafs are lacking on defensemen with the likes of Phaneuf, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn, Garnet Exelby, emerging youngster Carl Gunnarsson and the untradeable Jeff Finger. Dealing Kaberle for a top six forward should be a priority this summer for the Leafs.

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