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Auston Matthews' Hot Start Proves He Should've Been Leafs Captain Over John Tavares

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 05:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck during an NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on October 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs crowning John Tavares their first team captain in three years ahead of their 2019 season-opening clash wasn't an audacious move, though it did turn some heads considering the star center has only one season under his belt in The Six.

Well, if you were already doubting the Leafs "jumping the gun," then the superb play of Auston Matthews thus far will only reinforce those doubts.

Through three games, Matthews has found the back of the net five times, which is tied for the NHL lead with Detroit's Anthony Mantha.

Matthews five points are tied for third in the league, trailing only Mantha (7) and the Rangers' Mike Zibanejad (8).

Tavares, on the other hand, hasn't necessarily flashed the way most Maple Leafs fans would have expected him after being awarded the captaincy. The All-Star has contributed just three points, all hailing from his three assists. Despite Toronto having two wins under their belt and holding a plus-four goal differential (14-10), Tavares plus-minus log stands at zero.

Yes, it's significantly early in the new season, but that's also when the game's biggest stars set the tone. We aren't saying that Tavares isn't a star, that'd be lunacy, but Matthews is definitely out to prove something this year, and he might have deserved being named the team captain from the opening faceoff.