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When the Leafs decided to let veteran forward Colby Armstrong leave in free agency, they needed to find a new alternate captain. Armstrong's "A" was given to Mikhail Grabovski, who has been with the team four years, and has a new five-year extension that will begin this season.
The team's other alternate captain is Mike Komisarek, who should not wear the "A" on his sweater next season. He is an overpaid, underachieving, injury prone defenseman who has very little value to the Leafs.
It's not smart to have an alternate captain that often misses games because of injury, or because he's a healthy scratch.
Here are some players that would be good choices to replace Komisarek as an alternate captain.
1. Joffrey Lupul
Lupul knows how to handle adversity, he works hard and is very good with the media. He has the perfect personality to be an alternate captain.
Lupul is also a vocal guy who would speak up if there's an issue with the team that needs to be addressed. However, he is only signed for one more season, but if he were to sign long term, making him an alternate would be a no-brainer.
2. Phil Kessel
Kessel sometimes wore the "A" this season when Komisarek and/or Armstrong were not playing, so he has some experience in this role already. He's not a vocal player, but he definitely leads by example with his work ethic and strong offensive performance.
3. Jake Gardiner
It may be early to give Gardiner an "A" at just 22 years old, but the young defenseman has all the tools needed to be a future captain of the franchise. Gardiner is unlikely to receive an "A" in the near future, but if he was given the responsibility in the next year or two, it would be surprising if he couldn't handle the role.