The time to speak is now.
With per week to go till the beginning of free company, John Tavares is about to be wined and dined — and bribed with free bagels.
Six groups, together with his present one, are apparently on the New York Islanders centre’s shortlist and can meet with him at his agent’s workplace in Los Angeles starting Monday.
However, in response to studies, Tavares nonetheless may meet up with two extra groups afterwards as he decides whether or not to grow to be a free agent on July 1.
What is going to go into his determination? Cash, in fact (though each staff is probably going providing someplace within the neighbourhood of US$80 million), adopted by location and proximity to difficult for a Stanley Cup, in addition to who’s enjoying there already and his potential linemates.
The rose ceremony for the NHL’s most eligible bachelor begins now. Listed here are the groups Tavares might find yourself in a long-term relationship with.
Why do they need him? In Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, the Bruins had among the finest ahead strains within the NHL final season. What they lacked was one other line that would do related injury now that 32-year-old David Krejci’s manufacturing is on the decline.
What can they provide in addition to cash? They most likely aren’t going to interrupt up Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak, however Jake DeBrusk’s 16 targets and 43 factors as a rookie and the potential of Ryan Donato (5 targets and 9 factors in 12 video games) means Boston might have some youthful choices for Tavares to play with.
Might they make it match? Boston solely has about $12 million to play with, and that’s with solely 18 gamers beneath contract and with Calder Trophy finalist Charlie McAvoy getting into the ultimate season of his entry-level contract. In different phrases, the staff must get artistic by buying and selling both Krejci or David Backes.
Why do they need him? Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin are getting into the ultimate 12 months of their contracts. Dallas clearly hopes Seguin will re-sign, however even with him again, the staff’s next-best centre is 23-year-old Radek Faksa, who scored 33 factors for the second straight 12 months.
What can they provide in addition to cash? With Jim Montgomery stepping in as the brand new coach, there’s an opportunity he might break up up Seguin and Jamie Benn, giving Tavares a former Artwork Ross Trophy winner as a linemate. Or he might play alongside Alexander Radulov, who had 45 assists this season.
Might they make it match? The excellent news is the Stars ought to have about $20 million to spend this summer season. The dangerous information: solely 14 gamers are at the moment signed. Until there’s a buyout or a commerce coming for Spezza, that doesn’t go away a lot wiggle room for GM Jim Nill.
Why do they need him? GM David Poile, who traded for Kyle Turris final season and swung a blockbuster deal for P.Okay. Subban a 12 months earlier, isn’t afraid to go all-in nowadays. Getting Tavares won’t be a necessity for a staff that already has Ryan Johansen and Turris down the center. However have you ever seen the Predators’ defence? This staff is all about extra.
What can they provide in addition to cash? Nashville, which reached the convention semifinals final 12 months and performed within the Stanley Cup closing the 12 months earlier than, is already a prime contender within the West. That’s engaging to participant who has gained only one playoff spherical within the final 9 years.
Might they make it match? Nashville, which has 19 gamers signed for subsequent season, has about $12 million remaining beneath the cap to signal ahead Ryan Hartman and backup goalie Juuse Saros. After all, they may have extra to spend if Poile decides to commerce Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Pekka Rinne, who’s within the closing 12 months of a contract that pays him $7 million and is coming off a disappointing post-season efficiency.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Why do they need him? Nicely, they drafted him and doubtless don’t wish to lose him for nothing. Apart from that, Tavares is the captain and greatest participant on this staff. He’s the explanation Josh Bailey had 71 factors this season. With out Tavares, the Islanders would get loads worse.
What can they provide in addition to cash? Solely the Islanders are allowed to go as excessive as eight years on a brand new contract, as a result of he could be re-signing with them. That size of time period is interesting with Mathew Barzal coming off a team-leading 85-point season. And with Lou Lamoriello employed as the brand new GM and Barry Trotz as the brand new coach, issues are lastly trying up for New York.
Might they make it match? The Islanders have 10 accessible roster spots and greater than $32 million with which to fill them, so providing Tavares an eight-year deal value $88 million nonetheless offers the staff flexibility beneath the cap.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Why do they need him? Joe Thornton is a free agent, however even when he comes again, the 38-year-old is nearing retirement. With 33-year-old Joe Pavelski and 29-year-old Logan Couture each a 12 months away from unrestricted free company, the Sharks should plan for a future which may not embrace them.
What can they provide in addition to cash? The Sharks have been within the Stanley Cup closing two years in the past and whereas Patrick Marleau is gone to Toronto and Thornton is on his final legs, the remainder of the roster is essentially intact and of their prime. With Couture put in because the No. 2 centre for not less than one other 12 months, Tavares wouldn’t have to hold the load and would have a alternative of wingers together with Pavelski (66 factors), Evander Kane (29 targets), Tomas Hertl (22 targets) and Timo Meier (21 targets).
Might they make it match? After shopping for out defenceman Paul Martin and buying and selling Mikkel Boedker to Ottawa, San Jose has $19 million in cap room with solely Hertl and Chris Tierney needing new contracts. That’s sufficient for the Sharks to not solely signal Tavares, but in addition to carry Thornton again.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Why do they need him? The Lightning reached the convention closing on this 12 months’s playoffs, however they didn’t get previous the Capitals as a result of they couldn’t generate 5-on-5 targets. Tavares, who scored solely 30 of his 84 factors on the facility play, might assist in that regard.
What can they provide in addition to cash? Nikita Kucherov completed third in scoring with 100 factors and Steven Stamkos ended up in 12th with 86 factors. Loopy because it sounds, each might play on a line with Tavares if head coach Jon Cooper moved Stamkos to the wing fairly than bumping Brayden Level (32 targets and 66 factors) all the way down to grow to be the third-line centre.
Might they make it match? Right here’s the place it will get tough. The Lightning have $10.5 million remaining beneath the cap with solely 4 gamers left to signal, however subsequent 12 months Kucherov and Level grow to be restricted free brokers. After all, a mixed $15.9 million can also be coming off the books in 2019 with defencemen Ryan McDonagh, Anton Stralman, Braydon Coburn and Dan Girardi all getting into unrestricted free company.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Why do they need him? Toronto already has Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri slotted down the center, however the probability to land Tavares would give the Leafs the most effective centre depth within the league. Because the Capitals confirmed this 12 months, you’ll be able to by no means an excessive amount of energy on the place.
What can they provide in addition to cash? Easy: the possibility to win a Stanley Cup in his hometown. It’s each Toronto child’s dream. And with Mike Babcock because the coach and a few of the greatest younger forwards within the league, it’s trying extra prefer it could possibly be a actuality. Additionally, enjoying with Mitch Marner on one aspect and Marleau on the opposite might give Tavares his first 100-point season.
Might they make it match? With 18 gamers signed, the Leafs have almost $25 million in cap area. However it’s shrinking quick. Cash needs to be earmarked for Toronto’s trio of younger forwards. First up is William Nylander, who wants a contract extension this summer season. Matthews and Marner’s entry-level offers expire after this season. Mixed, they may account for roughly $25 million per 12 months. No marvel some have instructed Toronto go to the max and signal Tavares as a one-year, $16-million rental participant.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Why they need him? The honeymoon is over, but it surely doesn’t should be. After reaching the Stanley Cup closing of their inaugural season, the Golden Knights could possibly be again once more with the addition of Tavares. After all, you would not name them the “Golden Misfits.”
What they’ll supply in addition to cash? It’s Vegas, child! If the Strip wasn’t sufficient of a lure, anybody who’s been to a sport or watched on TV noticed that that is already an thrilling and supporting hockey market. Two-way centre William Karlsson, who scored 43 targets this 12 months, offers Tavares some respiratory room. However the staff may need to discover a winger or two for him to play with.
Might they make it match? With virtually $31 million in projected cap area and 17 gamers signed — Karlsson and Shea Theodore are the one ones who might get expensive — the Golden Knights have greater than sufficient to pay Tavares and discover him a top-line winger, corresponding to free agent James van Riemsdyk. That’s, except they determine to commerce for Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson as a substitute.
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