John Tavares – To Maple Leaf or Not to Maple Leaf

Royalty-free

Royalty-free

Oakville – a town just roughly 45 minutes away from the Air Canada Centre. The town contains the Oakville Rangers and MOHA – programs by which John Tavares would have been involved with while growing up there. In these parts, it’s no secret that John Tavares was raised a Maple Leafs fan.

It’s simply déjà vu. Just over a year ago, the same conversation was being held about Steven Stamkos. Fast forward to free agency 2018, there’s no denying that the John Tavares sweepstakes will be in full effect. Once again, Maple Leaf fans will be met with déjà vu: John Tavares will not sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Impractical” is one way to describe it. The salary cap is the great equalizer; The Maple Leafs do not have a bottomless pit of money. John Tavares is worth $10-million, and rightly so. He’s consistently one of the leagues best players and has been the rock for a rather mediocre team since his arrival to the NHL. Since being drafted first overall in 2009, he has received a nomination for the Hart trophy in 2013. If not for injuries and a lock-out season, John Tavares would have a streak of 5 consecutive 30 goal seasons still in tact.

The Maple Leafs aren’t going to pay John Tavares. Signing just Patrick Marleau proves it. The Leafs, of course, could sign Tavares. With so many expiring contracts, paying him isn’t necessarily the problem. The problem is paying both Matthews and his friends.

You could tackle it from any angle. The salaries that the Maple Leafs have right now just does not work for a John Tavares acquisition. Signing him would jeopardize their chance at a dynasty that includes each of Matthews, Marner, and Nylander in the fold.

On the flip side, money will be abundant for the Islanders. John Tavares wants, for example, $80-million across 8 years? No issue. The Maple Leafs don’t need John Tavares. Some may not even want him. For years, the Maple Leafs forward core will be preposterous. It will be teeming with skill. John Tavares will not change that. You have all heard the saying “defence wins championships.”

What if John Carlson was a pending free agent? A right shot number one defender joining the team? Yes please. That’s just the beginning of that discussion. The common denominator for the Maple Leafs has been a need for defence. A John Tavares signing is too impractical to force.

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