The Toronto Maple Leafs are developing quiet leaders.
When people think of leaders in the NHL, they think of guys leading out loud (vocally), but when I think of leaders, I look to some of the youngsters on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sidney Crosby is a great example of a leader who will direct his teammates vocally, we can hear him lead.
There’s nothing wrong with this type of leadership, it’s generally the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of leadership in any capacity and it always involves lockerroom (behind the scenes) leadership.
However, recently I’ve started to see leadership in a new light and the two players I’m going to be talking about specifically are Auston Matthews and William Nylander.
For many of us (including myself), we see it as when will Matthews become the Leafs captain, not if he becomes the captain, which is understandable if we follow the current trend in the NHL of naming captains at a young age because of their star status among basic leadership qualities.
Think of all the players that have been named captains of their respected clubs, mainly because they are or are going to be the face of their team for many years to come.
None of that’s a bad thing and I’m still of the opinion that Matthews will be the next Leafs captain, but I’m starting to notice different leadership qualities in him and Nylander that translate a whole lot more than the trend I mentioned above.
Let me explain.
I don’t tend to see Matthews pointing around the faceoff circle, directing his linemates on where to stand, etc.
That doesn’t negate leadership, though.
Matthews type of leadership isn’t always entirely visible to the public eye, I’d bet that he’s more vocal behind closed doors, but then again, I have no proof of that.
What we do see from him on the ice, though, is a quiet walk and talk, the same thing goes for Nylander as neither are super flashy in their celebrations, neither are snobby or in your face.
You don’t see them in scrums or holding grudges, you see the focus in their eyes and the mentality that a goal against just means there’s work to be done.
That reminds me of a quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption (my favorite movie) where Red’s describing Andy Dufresne.
He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn’t normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place.
That just reminds me of Matthews and Nylander in a sense.
To me, they exemplify leadership in the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy kind of way, you know, exhibiting sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
That’s their kind of leadership, it’s special.
The two of them show this kind of leadership at all times, always looking towards the end goal, the win.
Even when they’re being interviewed off the ice, they’re always saying the right things, never chirping, just being respectful in everything they do.
That’s the kind of leadership I see in the Leafs future.