Latest John Tavares Speculation – August 8, 2017

by | Aug 8, 2017 | Rumors | 47 comments

If John Tavares doesn’t re-sign with the NY Islanders, could he land with the Rangers, Canadiens or Leafs?

If John Tavares doesn’t re-sign with the New York Islanders, could he land with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs? 

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen stated his believe that center John Tavares will re-sign with the New York Islanders before his eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency. Assuming that doesn’t happen, he doesn’t think Tavares would sign with the arch rival Rangers. Rosen feels the Montreal Canadiens are a more likely destination as veteran center Tomas Plekanec and his $6 million salary-cap hit comes off the Habs books next July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have over $51 million invested in 11 players for 2018-19, with J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey, Brady Skjei and Matt Puempel becoming restricted free agents. If most of those players have strong performance this coming season, it could cost the Blueshirts around $15 million to re-sign them. As tempting as Tavares would be, I doubt they’ll want to handcuff themselves by tying up $10 million (or more) annually on just one player.

Tavares would be the answer to the Canadiens’ prayers at center. While the Habs have $57 million tied up in 15 players for 2017-18, all of their core players are under contract. They’ll have room to make a competitive bid, but would it be enough to entice Tavares to Montreal? That could depend upon how many other clubs pursue him, what they’re offering and if they’re in position to become a Stanley Cup contender. 

SPORTING NEWS: Michael Augello recently examined how the Toronto Maple Leafs could make room for Tavares if he hits the open market next summer. Having two superstar centers in Tavares and Auston Matthews could be intriguing for Leafs management, who staged a failed attempt last summer to land Steven Stamkos before he re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Augello notes the Leafs will have nearly $30 million in salary-cap space with Tyler Bozak, Dominic Moore, Ben Smith, Joffrey Lupul, Leo Komarov, James van Riemsdyk and Eric Fehr coming off the books, along with the buyouts of Jared Cowen and Tim Gleason. That doesn’t include rookie bonuses or new contracts for Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner. 

Adding Tavares would likely mean trading center Nazem Kadri to clear additional cap room to bolster their depth elsewhere on the roster, such as the blueline. It could also force them to make a choice between Nylander or Marner unless both can be re-signed to cost-effective bridge deals or long-term contracts below market value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: the Leafs don’t need Tavares.

Look, it’s not as though he wouldn’t be a good addition, but they already have a homegrown superstar in Matthews and two other promising forwards in Nylander and Marner. Kadri has finally developed into a reliable two-way center for their second line. Why not stick with those kids and let them become the foundation for a Stanley Cup contender?

Yes, they went after Stamkos last year, but that was before Matthews and Marner had even played an NHL game,before Nylander skated a full season for the Leafs and before Kadri finally established himself. If the Leafs are going to spend heavily in free agency next summer, they should invest those dollars in addressing their blueline depth than blowing their brains out chasing a superstar center they really don’t need. 



  1. What if the Leafs trade Nylander for a top young Dman and then sign Tavares?

    That would move their odds of winning the Cup in the next decade from possible to likely.

    Who in their right mind would resign with the Islanders? A well run team coached by Babcock could be appealing to Tavares.

    Unlike the previous Leaf pie in the sky “he’s coming home” talk, I could actually see this one happening.

    • To quote Lyle “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: the Leafs don’t need Tavares.”.
      And, the Leafs aren’t trading William Nylander for some unnamed unicorn “top young Dman”.
      Tavares to the Habs does, however, make some sense, they certainly need someone to play centre.

      • They better find that unicorn or else they won’t win the Cup.

        And Matthews-Kadri is an OK 1-2. But, Matthews-Tavares is the 1-2 of a Cup favorite.

      • I think Tavares to the Habs is very doable and quite necessary in fact especially with Plekanec coming off the books. Neither the Leafs or Rangers make sense. Tavares to Toronto is good for the media but serves no other purpose. Lyle is 125% correct on this one.

    • well for one, they would need to pay money to this ‘top’ young defenseman to stay.
      The leafs with Matthews are different than the leafs of 2015 when we didn’t have him.
      Tavares would be an amazing addition to any team but in the cap world I’d rather keep Marner, matthews, Nylander and Kadri

      • Totally agree. That’s what gets me with so many similar proposals. IF Nylander could bring in a young Top 4 D at this stage of his early career, that is going to cost them big bucks because, being a Top 4, that D is already well established.

      • Kadri is nowhere near the player Tavares is. And if the Leafs actually are thinking of signing him (which I think is never going to happen), trading Kadri would have to happen.

    • why couldn’t the Leafs trade Nylander to Calgary for Brodie or to Carolina for Pesce+

      • Ask Calgary or Carolina? How would anybody here know?

  2. This leafs cap space . Is it really opening up ? Can they spend heavily ? 30 million opening up . Let’s say 3 million in bonuses , that leaves 27million . Re signing nylander takes up another 7 million lets say , down to 20 million . Jvr bozak komarov haven’t been replaced yet .. even if that is with 3 elc contracts down to approx 17million . How much room is left to add pieces knowing Mathews Marner and gardiner will all need new deals the following summer at around 23 million or so ? What am I missing? They will have cap space to sign 1 year rentals next summer.

    • Yes they could trade away nylander or Marner but IMO why abort the re build after finally tearing it down and building it up properly and with so much promise . Wreaks of previous leafs management .

    • Sound arguments. But what you have to remember is, the GTA is media-heavy with various components all searching for daily material to feed – not those who see things clearly but rather the gullible who see everything through rose-coloured glasses. In other words, the same lowest common denominator crowd who keep crap like reality TV at the forefront.

      But then again they too must be served. As Aristotle observed “youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.”

      • I guess I agree George but in all honesty I’m still not sold on Nylander being a player that is going to help Toronto win the cup.

        Sure he made some great improvements as the season went on but is that because he was on Austons line in the second half.

        Its partially a pipe dream but would still love to trade Nylander for a proper top 4 dman and then even if something else was not found I think we would be fine with Auston, Kadri and Bozak as our centers going forward.

        Maybe the Leafs just go the route of getting the ‘best’ mobile puck moving dman corps they can and try it the run and gun way as the style seems to be leaning that way and not as much focus on a top shut down dman.

  3. I can only dream that Tavares becomes a HAB. That said even with Plecky off the books, Price is making bank and Max Pac is (hopefully) going to resign as well.

    We could be looking at 3 players covering 35 million (ish). Great players and all, but that’s a lot of cap space to eat up.

    Tough call.

    • I think Montreal has made it tough on themselves spending 18 mil on a goalie and a Dman. Well…Until those contracts are up in 2026. Really don’t have the room to spend the big dollar on at least 2 forwards like most teams do. No team should spend 10 per on a goalie.

      • They have 9.5 million try doing some research with plekanac coming off the books that equals 15.5 million lots of space to add guys,the Canadian dollar will be on the rise along with the salary cap! Calgary and leafs are the ones that are in tough with mediocre teams and young guys to pay very soon

      • You haven’t been paying attention to the leading economists. The Canadian $ won’t be heading up substantially for some time and, if we take some serious hits in the NAFTA re-negotiations it could tumble much lower. And when that happens the cap will be stagnant.

  4. This isn’t listed in the above rumours by Lyle. But I was just listening to a flyer podcast and they mentioned that Travis Sanheim is being pursued by Montreal as part of a Galchynyuk trade. Apparently the Flyers have turned them down as they’re not interested in Galchynyuk but are interested in a package that would Include paceriotty.

    • Montreal is not trading Chucky for Sanheim, they would have just kept Sergachev. Why do the Drouin trade to just repeat in reverse?? Chucky is staying in Montreal unless it’s part of a package for a #1 center.
      Who in their right mind would trade patches for Sanheim? Were they drinking on that podcast?

      • Because I’d rather have Drouin at 5.5 for 6 years than paying Patches 6++ well into his 30s. Might be worth flipping him for a young LHD before they have to pay him big

  5. Does Tavares see the Islanders as a contender in the next 5 years?
    Their top D is 33. They do not have a goalie to steal a playoff series.

    He will be paid regardless but no one can blame him if he does not resign

    Sure I would love him as a Ranger with Nash coming off the books but that is unlikely. Price is still in his prime. Adding Tavares to the Habs changes a lot of things

    • Boychuk is not the #1 d. Leddy is and he’s 26. Plus they have a young core in Pulock, DeHaan, Pelech, Mayfield, Toews, Hickey and Wotherspoon. Exceptional young forwards in Ho Sang, Barzal Nelson and Lee. Also number one picks in Bellows and Dal Colle. As to goaltender, I agree but Soderstrom is knocking on the door. They also have 2 #1 picks in next year’s draft. To say the Isles lack talent and devoid of the possibility to win a Cup is illogical. It’s simply the media propaganda.

    • After a horrible start to the season the Isles finished with 94 points – same as TB – both 1 point back of the Leafs and Bruins who made the playoffs, Looking ahead they have good veteran strength up front with the likes of Ladd, Eberle, Bailey, Lee, Nelson, Kulemin and on D with De Haan (25), Hickey (27), Leddy (25) and Mayfield (24) and in the woodwork are Barzal (C), Beauvillioer (C/LW), Ho Sang (C/RW), Pullock (D), Pelech (D), Toews (D) and top prospect goalie Ilya Sorokin and a big Swede named Linus Soderstrom. They are also probably in the mix for Butcher.

      They aren’t that far off.

      • Lee – Tavares – Eberle will be a line to watch out for this season.
        They are a much better team than what the perception is. Their goalie situation is pretty wonky and they have to figure it out. They have a super talented streaky goalie in Halak and a consistent but average guy in Greiss.

    • Leddy is NYI’s top Dman, he is 26. He logs the most ice time in all situations but on the PK he doesn’t kill penalties really. He played 2 mins more per game on average last season than Boychuk. He was 2nd to Hamonic the season prior, playing a min 15 more per game than Boychuk that season.

      I assume Tavares will resign in NYI. NYI is 1 season removed from 2 consecutive 100 point seasons & playoff appearances. NYI missed the playoffs by 1/2 a game last season & was the 2nd best team in the NHL after Dec 30th. Capuano doomed this team last season. His stubbornness with certain players ice time & line placement was brutal.

      NYI has a solid prospect pipeline, great draft picks, solid contract structure allowing for cap flexibility & 1 of the best young D’s in the NHL. Signing de Haan for 1 year making him a potential UFA next summer concerns me; also reduces his value in trade significantly, but Pelech & Pulock will be full time NHL players next season & long term with Leddy, Boychuk make for a solid top 4 if de Haan is lost. Toews, Wotherspoon & Vande Sompel were all solid draft picks at D & Aho is an intriguing selection late this year.

      The future looks very bright for NYI on the ice but off it is some what of a mess. Where will they eventually call home? I assume they may move back to Long Island until a new home can be built some where. Barclays isn’t going to work I give them 1 more year there.

      If I’m Tavares I stay in NYI. Can they win a cup with Halak or Griess? Maybe but both are place holders till Sorokin or Soderstrom are ready. Halak will most likely be moved at this years trade deadline if not in the playoff picture, Greiss; 3 years remaining, is signed to eventually mentor 1 of the other 2.

      • All sounds good on paper with these 2 breakdowns. I am not convinced with their core. Or a playoff win against a soft Florida team.

    • Why would Tavares trade one non contender for another in Montreal?

      Montreal is better situated, but with aging forwards and a depleted blue line, not to mention a weakened defensive prospect corps, the Canadiens may not be a legitimate contender until Tavares is at the back none of his prime.

      • I think he would pick the Habs over the leafs atleast the Habs have contending team 2 division titles the past 3 yrs top 10 in the league, whereas the leafs have the worst defensive in the league with nothing coming up

  6. Matthews, Marner and Nylander appear to be the real deals but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Isn’t that what us Leaf fans are accused of all the time? Tavares is consistently a 30 goal point a game player over his 8 years in the NHL. I understand both sides of the arguement but if you simply look at it this way (and not to knock Kadri) would you rather have Tavares and Matthews as your top two centers or have Matthews and Kadri? Find a way to fit all 3 and you’d have (aside from maybe Pittsburgh) unrivaled strength down the middle…

  7. The argument against Tavares wouldn’t be that he isn’t better than Kadri, but in a cap world, does he provide more value than Kadri? Tavares will cost between 2-2.5 times what Kadri’s current contract costs. Even if Last year isn’t Kadri’s norm, can Tavares provide that much additional value? or to look at it a different way, is Matthews – Tavares better than Matthews – Kadri with an additional $5.5-6M dollar player somewhere in the line up, all else being equal?
    That’s where the argument gets far more tricky.

    Also, as nice a thought as it is to use guys like Kadri and Nylander to get that elusive top D, there is a lot of moving parts to making that happen, namely you need to know one is available, which is rare.

    The Leafs are better off staying the course, and focusing their search on adding good young defensemen who haven’t quite hit their stride, as trades like that are more likely, and more cost efficient. Every now and then a prospect or young somewhat raw D-man is traded, and turns out to be much more than anticipated. Nick Leddy with the Islanders is a prime example, and the Leafs best Defensemen (Gardiner) was acquired in much the same way. They should be focusing on taking a few more shots similar to this, as these opportunities come up more often than real top pairing D being traded, and cost much less. Also, they need to invest time into scouting UFA defense men who may become available, as there have been a few defensemen who were a little underrated and were signed as UFAs and are outplaying their current contracts (Niskanen, Stralman). It’s not fun to sit and wait, but it’s better than blowing through assets to try and force something that isn’t there.

    • Right and its not like the Leafs dont have defensive prospects. Dermott and Neilsen will eventually get a shot.
      Additionally, the Leafs probably had the steal of the draft in Liljgren

      • I think you may be getting ahead of your time by thing it’s the steal of the draft. It’s been only two months so there is a reason why he fell to the last half of the draft. And these two months have not change that.

      • Liljgren was consistently ranked a top 5 pick for the entire year but fell down a bit due to contracting Mono mid year and missing time. I’ve never had it but from what I hear fatigue post recovery can last another year.
        Think Chychrun last year, he fell significantly and from all accounts was the steal of the 1st round.
        I don’t think I’m getting ahead of myself. Based on what we know today, on August 8th 2017 he stands as the steal of the draft, that may change down the road.
        I was sending silent prayers for the last 5-6 months for the Leafs to get him.
        I also wanted them to pick Olle E-Ek but they went for Ian Scott instead. I personally think its crazy that Olle was taken as late as the 7th round.
        I’m no expert, just my opinion on liljgren

      • My steel of the draft is Isaac Radcliffe of the flyers.

      • Steal of the draft has to be poehling at 25 he was by far the best player at the summer showcase

      • I’m assuming every fan of every team think they have the steal of the draft.

        As far as the Summer showcase goes I think Calgary’s Adam Fox was by far the best player at the tournament. It’s not very often in a star studded Tourney a Dman ties the lead for the most points. Poehling was awesome but Buffalo’s Mittlestadt was great and Sam Steel was awesome. he’s a great prospect for Anaheim.

      • Every hockey guy has raved about poehling dropping to 25 and after being the best player in the showcase he will be a very high ranked prospect! When I say every hockey guy I mean knowledgeable ones that follow it for a living not like the guys that write on here lol

  8. Tavares would be a great fit with either the Rangers or Montreal as currently instructed, as he could slide in as the #1 and provide maximum benefit for his skill set. In Montreal he would have the near perfect winger for his skill set in Drouin, and Tavares fits with, and extends Montreal’s current window. The Rangers would also be a great fit with their forward strength, and his age does fit with their re-tooling on the fly.

    Nasville would also be a scary good fit, but given their commitments to Bonino and Johansen they may not pursue as heavily as the fit works, but they may actually have the cap space (sepcialy if they move Craig Smith), and they have so many great value deals, they can probably make it work as different contracts expire. With Tavares Nasville would be one of the deepers teams down the middle, have some very good wingers, and the best D-Core in the NHL, that is a hard set up to beat.

  9. My bet would be he signs with Isles. But, if he didnt, you can’t count out Rangers. They are no more a rival team than any other (maybe a little more, not like it used to be). It actually would make sense in that he’s already in NY. As far as cap space. Biggest roadblock would be his age and what term is he looking for. Not sure they’d want to give him 7 years at crazy money. If Rangers falter this season then my guess will be they pursue. Desharnais is only signed for one season and Nash and Holden will come off books also. Miller and Hayes won’t get huge raises and Skjei will depend on how he does this season. Staal will get bought out if they can’t move him next off season. Never say never

    • Also, don’t be surprised if they repeat this off seasons move of trading Stepan for futures to create space. Macdonaugh will only have one year left after this season and if Skjei becomes top pair guy and Rangers feel Day is ready, then look for them to move him to make space too. Long way off… let’s see how this year goes

      • I’d imagine both Hayes and Kreider will be looking for significant raises. Miller as well. But given the choice between Miller / Hayes/ Kreider or going after Tavares, I’m going after Tavares.

        You won’t see Day in the NHL this year. Possibly next.

      • Agreed, Rangers have a lot to work with to make moves. They will have approx. $25M to work with to sign 10 players. With so many players either RFA’s or UFA’s they can make trades at the deadline to free up space and at the same time get younger. You need 3 stars to win it all in this league as JT is certainly one of them.

  10. So if Tavares decides to move on from Isles I have heard arguments for the following teams:


    Could a case be made for San Jose? Slot in with Pavelski. Burns on backend and Jones in net. Seems to be media perception SJ will take a slight step back and window is closing?

    As Habs fan I would like to see him in MTL but there will be stiff competition.

    Any other teams out there people feel could make sense for pursuing Tavares as UFA next year?

    • MTL – Tavares & Patioretty
      NSH – Tavares & Forsberg
      STL – Tavares & Tarasenko


  11. All things factored in, doubtful Tavares moves on from Long Island. He’s the big fish in that pond and probably enjoys the anonymity of life on Long Island too without all the fuss somewhere else would likely bring

  12. Why not the Bruins? I said it yesterday
    Pasternak–Carlo and a 1 pick or another young player
    Great hockey Market—Bruins have assets to make it happen

  13. Tavares would never sign with Montreal, no players want to play there. They will never win another cup. If he goes a few games without scoring a goal the newspaper will put on front page and keep listing how many games he’s went etc, pure nonsense playing there…fans will boo you