Being the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs is something special and comes with a lot of responsibilities. On June 14 2010, Dion Phaneuf was named the Maple Leafs' 17th captain in team history. This was a decision that a lot of Maple Leafs fans disagreed with. GM Brian Burke saw a lot of qualities in Dion that made his decision simple of making him the Leafs captain.
Phaneuf was acquired last January in a blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames, and immediately made an impact.The towering blue-liner threw his weight around, dropped the gloves and ate up plenty of minutes.
Burke also informed media and fans that Dion also gave the team a vocal presence on the ice and in the dressing room. Burke also mentioned the players and coaching staff liked Phaneuf's communication skills and also felt he had the traits that they wanted in a team captain.
Ron Wilson said once Dion stepped into the room there was an immediate impact amongst the players, something this team has been lacking since the departure of Mats Sundin.
Dion Phaneuf, a 25-year-old Edmonton native, said he learned a lot from Flames captain Jarome Inginla while they were teammates. Dion was a team mate of Iginla's from the 2005-2006 season to 2009-2010 season before he was dealt to the blue and white.
It is simple to see that there is a number of Leafs fans who are disappointed in the Leafs decision in making Phaneuf the captain. His numbers are far from superb since joining the buds.
Yes, he's been hurt, but goals haven't been easy to come by since joining the Leafs. In 39 games with the Leafs Dion Phaneuf has been only able to find the back of the net twice, a far cry from the type of player they were hoping Dion would be, which is a valid commodity on the blue line.
Since the 2008-2009 season Dion has seen his number depreciate dramatically as well as his games played. Now that he's a member of the Maple Leafs its safe to say his ice time will gradually grow and his stats will hopefully rise.
So now the question stands, Is Dion Phaneuf captain ready or captain material? Or is Dion just a Brian Burke style player? My personal opinion is he's not captain material. Just because a guy walks into a locker room and turns up the stereo doesn't mean your Maple Leafs Captain ready.
I don't think there is a player on the Leafs current roster worthy of wearing the C as of yet. I think they jumped all over this Dion Phaneuf thing way too fast, but that's just my opinion.
Dion Phaneuf makes his much-anticipated return to Calgary on Thursday for the first time since he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Phaneuf has nothing but fond memories of his time playing for the Flames. The organization drafted him ninth overall in 2003. And during his four-and-a-half seasons in Calgary, he scored 75 goals and 228 points and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
If the Toronto maple Leafs want to turn around their disappointing season, Dion will have to be a key factor in the teams transition. Dion was brought in to be that player who can get his team mates up and ready for every game and lead by example. It's time Dion. Let's get this ship turned around.