As the rest of the NHL waits, New York Islanders free agent captain John Tavares has narrowed his list down to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks.
John Tavares and his reps no longer plan to bring any additional teams into their free-agent process after meeting with Dallas and Tampa today.
The field is down to six: Leafs, Islanders, Sharks, Bruins, Stars and Lightning. #TavaresWatch
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 27, 2018
Each team may be uniquely approaching how to bring Tavares into the fold with teams like the Maple Leafs having to do some major contract shuffling if Tavares chooses them or the Sharks already having the room to fit him in, but some clubs are standing out over others.
TSN’s Darren Dreger (h/t Chris Nichols), reported that Tavares “was very impressed,” with the Maple Leafs, while Tampa offers a tax-free environment and some anonymity, while the Islanders have done everything they can to convince Tavares to stay. Tavares has liked the Islanders approach and their changes in management and coaching, but is it enough?
Some teams offer a better chance to win than others but no team will be free of having to make changes to accommodate the potential $10-$12 million per season Tavares stands to make on this massive free agency deal. Would he take a one-year contract for the max allowed in a given year with the potential to repeat this drama next summer? None of that we know just yet.
Sharks circling around prized FA John Tavares. Meeting in LA today 👀 pic.twitter.com/LZf98D3nJv
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) June 26, 2018
July 1 is only a few days away and once Tavares chooses where he wants to go, dominos around the rest of the NHL will start to fall in a hurry. The five teams who miss out on Tavares have players on speed-dial as a backup and other teams not in the mix will find out what it will cost to land some of the biggest names on the free agent market including Paul Stastny, Mike Green, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Joe Thornton.
Should Tavares choose a team like Toronto or Tampa Bay (who just re-signed J.T. Miller), the floodgates will also open on the trade market and it could make the few days, even hours, following the “Tavares decision” fun to watch.