New York Islanders: Breaking Down $12 million for John Tavares

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: John Tavares
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: John Tavares /

Thank you, Edmonton Oilers, thanks to your $100 million deal for Connor McDavid the New York Islanders John Tavares cap hit just went up North of $10 million. Why does a $12 million AAV make sense? shared and commented on a “report”* regarding New York Islanders John Tavares potentially landing a $12 million AAV in his next deal with the team that drafted him first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

*It wasn’t a report. It was an opinion piece/general discussion article about next season’s free agent class by Sporting News’ Brendon Schlager.

The extra attention awarded to the Tavares deal and it’s increased value since the McDavid deal renewed discussion on the topic. Now the debate rages as to: “Is he worth it?”

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A $12 million AAV is a big cap hit. Should Tavares get it, he’d be the second highest paid player in the league behind Connor McDavid. Is Tavares the player worth that much money? Is Tavares worth as much as McDavid?

In terms of production, it doesn’t seem like it. McDavid already put up 100 points in only his second season in the league. Tavares’ best season, in terms of production totals, was in 2014-15 when he put up 86 points in 82 games.

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But that’s not what’s driving Tavares’ cost up. His 537 points in 587 games played since the 2009-10 season get him to the table of $10 million players, like Patrick Kane, Johnathan Toews and Anze Kopitar. It’s what having a player like John Tavares on this roster means to the franchise.

Having a superstar player amongst your ranks brings legitimacy and a central focus to the team. Ask Columbus Blue Jackets fans how they felt after Rick Nash left? Who’s the superstar on that team now? Nick Foligno? Cam Atkinson? Or is it even John Tortorella?

John Tavares means everything to the New York Islanders. He’s the present, future and face of the franchise. And that’s worth something. Intangibles are worth something.

Intangibles like leadership and playoff experience are all talked about as being worth something when bringing in a new player. Intangibles apply here too. It’s just no longer necessarily about winning hockey games so much as giving the franchise an identity.

Without Tavares, either through trade or free agency this team is totally lost. Then compound that loss with the entire arena drama and it makes for a bleak picture.

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Keeping Tavares at all costs is imperative. That’s why a $12 million AAV shouldn’t be out of the question. If ownership is truly willing to pay that sum of money to keep its superstar player, who’s, whether you like it or not, worth it, I’m happy. Remember, there was a time when Islanders ownership didn’t want to pay up when the time came. I don’t want to go back to those days.