ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN!! CHOO CHOO!!
Why, you might ask? Well, it seems like our dream of having John Tavares join the Leafs just got a little bit bigger yesterday, after these comments from The Athletic Islanders’ writer Arthur Staples in his most recent article.
Who does Tavares want to call him? It’s long been believed that the Kings and the Leafs would be his preferred destinations if he could choose. Los Angeles has to try and sign Drew Doughty after next season and has the least cap space going into 2018-19, so that seems like a stretch.
So far, people have been speculating that teams that want to get competitive and need a first line center, while having the cap space required to sign him. Ironically, the Islanders have the most cap space right now, but teams that have been thrown into the conversation include Vegas, Montreal, and the Leafs.
But the only problem is that people are asking where Tavares is going, not where he wants to go.
Based on Staples comments, it seems like if Tavares could pick any team that he wanted to go to, it’d be the Kings or the Leafs. And Staples isn’t wrong about the Kings, they have less than $4 million in cap space, and they have four players on their roster they still need to re-sign. Unless Tavares wants a two-way contract to play for them, or the Kings make a deal to shed a lot of cap space, that isn’t happening.
Which leaves the Leafs as the other option for Tavares, and honestly, it makes a lot of sense for both sides. The Leafs need another center after Bozak leaves, as well as more scoring after van Riemsdyk leaves, and they’ve been reported to be looking for a third line center (although Tavares is much more than that). Tavares probably wants to win a Stanley Cup, and what better way to do that than with your boyhood team that even has the cap space to give you the money you want. It’s almost the perfect fit.
Of course, history has shown that elite players rarely leave the team they are drafted by through free agency. Maybe Tavares thinks things will change with Lamoriello in charge, and re-signs with the Islanders. Maybe he gets a better offer from another team. Or maybe he’s saying this just because he wants to be wanted by other people, and this will fill the void in his life.
Okay, that last one probably isn’t the case, but honestly, it’s hard to tell. Stamkos went so long without re-signing only to do it days before free agency, and maybe that’s the case with Tavares.
But it’s nice to see that he wants to be on the Leafs as much as the Leafs want to bring him in.
Founded in 1950, Sports Excellence Corporation represents over 150 family-owned independent hockey retailers across Canada and the United States. Our highly knowledgeable hockey specialists are available to assist all your equipment needs. Find your closest Sports Excellence retailer here!