After six two-hour meetings and constant speculation as to where the star centre would sign, a decision has been made.
John Tavares will be a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The terms of the deal between the team and the five-time NHL All-Star are reportedly seven years with an annual cap hit of $11 Million. This makes Tavares the second highest paid player in the National Hockey League.
7 years for Tavares in TOR
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2018
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 1, 2018
His decision to join a new club became increasingly clear when the nine-year pro did not reach an agreement with the Islanders by the end of June 30th. That marked the last day he would have been able to reach an eight-year deal with his old team.
Tavares’ motives to join the Maple Leafs likely dealt with his ties to the area. Born in Mississauga, Ontario, just 20 minutes away from Toronto, the star forward grew up playing for the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL.
With the signing, Toronto’s centre situation immediately becomes one of the best in the National Hockey League. Over the past four seasons, Tavares has reached the 30 goal plateau three times while also managing to record 65 points or more in each of his past five campaigns.
En route to making his decision, the former first overall pick also sat down for meetings with the Bruins, Islanders, Lightning, Sharks, and Stars.
Based off of points, the combination of John Tavares and Auston Matthews ranks fourth amongst centre duos over the past two seasons.