- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 2, 2019

TORONTO (AP) - John Tavares was named the 25th captain in Toronto Maple Leafs history Wednesday night before the season opener against the Ottawa Senators, filling a role that had been vacant for more than 3 1/2 years.

Fellow forwards Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and defenseman Morgan Rielly were named alternates.

“We know about the history, the tradition and what it would mean to the city and the fan base,” Tavares said. “It’s not something you can ever take for granted, but at the same time I don’t think you want to change who you are. You just want to continue to just try to be better every day.”

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Tavares was captain of the New York Islanders for five seasons before signing with Toronto two summers ago. He had a career-high 47 goals and 88 points last season.

“We didn’t name a captain for a long time because we didn’t think it was obvious,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “We talked a ton about this. We talked to our players about it, we talked to our staff about it, we talked to our management team about it. In the end we made the right decision for the Leafs.”

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