Jonathan Toews took another step toward becoming the next captain of the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
Toews, the 19-year-old St. Vital product who has taken the NHL by storm along with linemate Patrick Kane, was one of two Blackhawks named alternate captains for the month of December.
"There's been a lot of talk that maybe I could be part of that leadership group down the road, that I have maybe some of those qualities, and to get compliments like that is a huge honour considering the experience we have in this locker-room," Toews told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald on Monday.
"It gives me a lot of confidence that maybe the guys already do look at me that way, but I think most of all I'm not going to change too much, just keep playing the way I have been and doing the same things and try to make plays that make a difference. I'm going to try not to disappoint and go out and do my job."
Earlier this season, head coach Denis Savard said he didn't want to burden his young players with the responsibility of wearing a letter but Toews continues to show maturity beyond his years.
"He's earned it," Savard told the Daily Herald. "It's tough not to give it to him, it's as simple as that. He's what a coach dreams about. It's the way he is, the way he plays and the way he works and practises. He's a leader, that's what he's all about."
After sitting out the first two games of the regular season with a broken finger, Toews, who is averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game, has hit his stride.
With 10 goals and 20 points in 24 games, the slick centre currently sits second in rookie scoring, seven points behind Kane.
Blackhawks veteran Martin Lapointe told Sun Media in October that Toews is a great leader and he re-iterated those thoughts on Monday.
"Either you have it or you don't, and I think Jonathan has all the tools, all the assets to be a great leader in this league," Lapointe told the Daily Herald. "There's no such thing as being too young. I think he's ready for it. He's going to be the next captain here."