John Tavares will meet with 5 teams at his agency this week in LA. Tavares is unable to sign anything (outside of Brooklyn) until July 1st. The teams are reported to be the Maple Leafs, Stars, Sharks, Bruins, and Lightning. The Islanders are obviously in the running still and GM Lou Lamoriello will reportedly be in LA this week just to ‘stay close’ to the situation. Here’s why I believe John Tavares is staying put in Brooklyn (or wherever the Islanders play)
Toronto: The Leafs could give Tavares a max 1 year deal worth almost $16 million but after this year they will need to extend their 2 best players. Auston Matthews deal will probably be around $11 million AAV, Mitch Marners will probably be north of $7 million. Even William Nylander will be over $5 million one would have to think. The Leafs will stay the course and rely on younger players rather than sign a 27-year-old for a long-term deal
Dallas: The Stars don’t have state tax and playing in Texas wouldn’t be the worst but their top Centre Tyler Seguin will be in the same boat as Tavares next year, as his contract is up and he’ll be looking for a deal north of $10 million. I’ll take Tavares for the next 2 years but would rather seguin for the next 5 or 6 after that. The Stars also have the same problems as the Islanders, no defense or goaltending or recent playoff success
Boston: The Bruins have Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand on team friendly contracts judging by what other players make. But they also have David Krejci and David Backes on deals that take up $13 million and one (or both) would have to be moved to make a deal worth. Tuukka Rask is also north of $7 million a year. Add in a big extension for Charlie McAvoy, and Jake Debrusk. You’re not left with much room.
Lightning: Like the Stars, the Lightning have no state tax and it benefitted them when signing Steven Stamkos to his contract for only $8 million compared to being offered $12 million on the open market. Tampa Bay gave up a big haul at the trade deadline to get Ryan McDonagh and plan to resign him. Nikita Kucherov will double his salary to around $9 million next summer, and the summer of 2020 Andrei Vasielevskiy will double his $3.5 million salary for a long-term extension. State taxes or not, the super team would have been a cool idea. But it won’t work in Tampa.
San Jose: The Sharks make the most logical sense, if Tavares were to leave. They have cap space, play in California, and have a good supporting cast. The only issue is that this might be too far from Tavares home in Toronto, along with his Fiancée who is also from the area. California also has the highest state tax (over 13%)
There is always the case for Tavares leaving the Islanders because of the rink issue that will still last a minimum 2 years. The Islanders did a great job at the draft picking up Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom after many predicted those 2 wouldn’t be available. The only question is who will stop the puck? That’s been the same issue in New York for the last 20 years at least. I’m still predicting Tavares stays, you can’t fault the Islanders efforts either. Hire a respected GM and Stanley Cup winning coach. That should be enough.
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tavares_(ice_hockey)
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