New York Islanders John Tavares Won’t Choose Toronto Maple Leafs

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: John Tavares
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: John Tavares /

This summer the NHL rumor mill has been churning around Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and John Tavares of the New York Islanders. Tavares will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and speculation has been everywhere he will sign with his hometown team the Toronto Maple Leafs next summer. Yours truly is here to tell you why Tavares will choose the Isles over Toronto.

Everyone understands the angst New York Islanders fans are going through with the possibility that John Tavares could leave next July 1st. This fanbase has been through the sports psychological ringer regarding off-ice issues for some time.

Have no fear Isles fans, Tavares is here to stay.

Why Toronto Won’t Happen

Ther is no doubt that the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the storied franchises in hockey. In addition, their future looks very bright. So why would their hometown star John Tavares not sign with them?

New York Islanders

Let’s look at this from a Maple Leaf front office perspective first.

Last months Connor McDavid contract extension (8 years at $12.5 million per year) will have a huge effect on the Leafs. William Nylander is a restricted free agent after next season, while Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will be so the season after that.

With the continuing rise of player, salaries could Matthews surpass McDavid’s contract? Could both Nylander and Marner surpass Nashville’s Ryan Johansen contract of 8 years – $64 million? The answers to those two questions are with a big yes!

The salary cost to sign that trio long-term will be extremely high. With the salary cap crawling on a yearly basis that makes signing an additional high priced forward ridiculously difficult.

Furthermore, the Leafs need a Drew Doughty, not a John Tavares. Toronto still has a lot of work to do on their blue line to become a true contender. While there are some blue line prospects in Toronto’s system, all of their top kids in the system are at the forward position.

Happy on Long Island

Tavares like most Islanders loves living on Long Island. All the players enjoy the island in many ways.

Tavares knows the players, has a very close relationship with both Doug Weight and Garth Snow, and realizes the potential this organization has moving forward.

There are many pros for Tavares to play in Toronto. However, one of them is not the media crunch and scrutiny, Leafs players have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a complete 180 playing for the Isles in that regard.

The captain has been great for the franchise but the Islanders have also been good for him during the first half of his career. Tavares is known to be a very loyal guy, and he has stated he wants to stay.

Having the building issue get close to finalized can only help the situation. The organization has been in constant communication with Tavares which he has greatly appreciated.

Next: Isles Could be Brewing August Surprise

Finally, Tavares means a lot more to the Islanders franchise than any other organization by a country mile. Ownership knows that and they will do whatever it takes on a max 8-year deal to keep the captain on Long Island.