Ian White: Favorite for Toronto Captain

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IINovember 23, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 15:  Ian White #7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 15, 2009 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ian White is developing into one of this leagues best defenders.

He has 12 points and is a +5 to lead the Leafs in that department. On a team that to date this season has been outscored by a margin of 76-53, being a +5 in and of itself is impressive.

White was drafted in 2002 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the sixth round, 191st overall.

In 261 regular season games over his four NHL seasons, White has 91 points , is a career +12, and has only 171 penalty minutes (including that...questionable call vs the Caps).

White has also won a silver medal with Canada's World Juniors in 2002-2003 and was named the WHL's most sportsmanlike player in 2001-2002. During the 2005-2006 season, White was named Captain of Team Canada for the Spengler Cup.

Not to mention the fact that the man can grow quite the mouth brow!

If there were a contest for the Captaincy, the way I see it, there are really only two viable candidates.

Ian White impresses me more the more I watch him. He is as cool and steady on the ice as he is with the media. At only 25 years old, White also still has a lot of potential, and with the continuous improvement he has displayed over the last two seasons, there is every reason to think that he will be even better in years to come.

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Tomas Kaberle has been discussed at length as the obvious "heir apparent" to the Captaincy once worn by long time teammate Mats Sundin . Kaberle is certainly one of the team's best players overall. He leads the team in points with 22, he only has six penalty minutes, and is a -4 over all.

Now, at -4, Kabby is tied for 12th on the team. He is not a very good two-way player— not because he doesn't have the skill, but because he lacks the heart.

He simply, in my opinion lacks the toughness, and the sense of self sacrifice it takes to be a leader.

There may well be other candidates, Phil Kessel's name has come up, but I would wait a couple of years to allow him to develop a little more before giving him that kind of responsibility.

Jason Blake in my opinion, has a big heart, but because he is viewed in large part as an underachiever, he simply wouldn't garner enough respect.

Niklas Hagman is really the only other Leaf that I would say has the kind of potential it takes to be an effective captain.

There is a new rumor floating around that Chicago an the Leafs are looking at a deal that may involve Brent Sopel landing in the Big Smoke. He could be another potential, candidate.

Either way, as I've said before, this is a team that doesn't have enough natural leadership.

I believe it is imperative that someone be put in the position. Both Burke and Wilson have said that sometimes the role of a captain on a team just isn't that important.

I disagree, and I think it's high time they appointed some one. The team needs to have a guy to look to when things are going wrong instead of looking at the ground!