Steen, Stajan eye veteran void

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Tucks is gone, with Caber and The Captain perhaps following suit.

In a dressing room where nicknames and veteran influences once ruled, the absence of Darcy Tucker and, potentially, Bryan McCabe and Mats Sundin too, will be felt in the coming season, leaving the likes of Alex Steen and Matt Stajan to pick up the slack.

"Those guys will be missed," Steen said yesterday after a handful of Maple Leafs players and prospects took part in an informal workout at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

"When I first came into the league, those were the guys who took me under their wings. You don't forget that.

"There is no doubt there will be a different feeling in the dressing room this year. It will be weird without them," Steen said,

"At the same time there will be a lot of fresh faces, and I'm very confident we'll mesh nicely."

Tucker was bought out by the Leafs and is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche.

McCabe is said to be en route to Florida once he collects a $2-million US bonus from the Leafs on Sept. 1 as part of a deal that will land blue liner Mike Van Ryn in Toronto.

As for Sundin, he remains in his native Sweden contemplating retirement.

Those three players combined for more than 27 seasons in a Leafs uniform.

"I'm still hoping Mats will be back," Stajan said.

If not, who will take over as captain? There have been suggestions dating back to last season that Stajan would be a deserving candidate.

"I think everyone has to step up and assume a leadership role, whether you are wearing the C or not," said Stajan, showing veteran savvy by not directly answering the question.

"Guys like myself, Steener, Mark Bell, a lot of us will need to do our part."


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