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Leafs draft pick JJ Piccinich named captain of the London Knights

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Chosen by the team in a vote, he takes over from last year’s co-captains, Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak

Saginaw Spirit v London Knights Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The London Knights announced their captain and assistants for the 2016-2017 season, and they’ve stuck with a Leafs prospect for another year.

JJ Piccinich, taken in the fourth round of the 2014 entry draft, was elected by his teammates to be the captain for the season.

“JJ has been an incredible leader of this team since he stepped foot on the ice here at Budweiser Gardens”, said Knights’ General Manager, Rob Simpson. “He is always the first one to step up for the team, both on the ice and in the community. JJ exemplifies all of the qualities that make up a great leader and we are happy to have him lead this year’s team.”

Joining him are Owen MacDonald and Victor Mete as assistant captains.

Piccinich is 20 and is playing as an overager on the Knights. He is from Paramus, New Jersey.

This is, however, only his second year on the Knights. Last year, he scored 30 goals and 36 assists and had 12 points in the playoffs on the way to the Memorial Cup win. Prior to that he played one year for Boston University, where he struggled to succeed after two years in the United States Hockey League as a good scoring forward.

His production in the OHL has far outstripped anything he did previously, coming in at exactly one point per game. So far this year he has 14 points in 14 games.

The Knights believe in their captain via democracy method:

“We are happy to have continued on this tradition of the team selecting the leadership group this season,” continued Simpson. “This process shows the trust and respect everyone has in that room for these outstanding young men.”

The Leafs have yet to sign Piccinich to a deal, but because he was in the NCAA when he was drafted they have two more years to make their decision on his future with the team.