With Sunday’s news hitting New York Islanders fans like a brick, the reality of Tavares tells a different story. This story is one nobody saw coming.
On Sunday, it was confirmed that John Tavares was signing a seven-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in the process, leaving the New York Islanders. This is the organization Tavares grew up with. We were made to believe that Tavares was loyal.
That isn’t a false belief, it was false to believe he was loyal to the Islanders. Tavares had adamantly claimed he could never imagine playing anywhere else. He would repeat this claim, over and over again. Clearly, this wasn’t true.
He Should Have Been Traded
If Tavares wanted to do the right thing by the organization that he claimed had given him so much, he would have been traded. Perhaps, he thought the Islanders wouldn’t trade him to a desirable location. Maybe Tavares felt the Islanders could have still made the playoffs.
With a modified no-trade clause in his contract with the Islanders, where he could submit an eight-team no-trade list, how much do you want to bet the Leafs weren’t part of his eight?
You can take that for what it is. However, I think Tavares knew he wanted to leave long before the deadline. There is a reason he did not leave.
Tavares, I believe, wanted to make it easier for himself by not having to leave in the middle of the season. Tavares always had the intention of playing for the Maple Leafs. He confirmed that when he stated on his Twitter it’s “Not everyday you can live your childhood dream”.
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There are many possible reasons why Tavares didn’t want a trade. Technically, he could have been telling the truth that he really had no intention of leaving. Tavares could have felt that he may have been an Islander by the start of the new season.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t matter now. He’s gone.
What The Islanders Could Have Gotten
If the Islanders traded Tavares, they could have gotten so much in return. Tavares wanted to go to the Maple Leafs. You’d have to imagine that if a trade proposal from the Maple Leafs came up he’d agree to it.
Say a trade where the Islanders could have acquired one of William Nylander, Morgan Reilly or Jake Gardiner with a pick and a prospect. Both teams could have benefitted. Both teams could have come out ahead.
Both the team he pledges his loyalty to, and the team he was committed to improve and help win could have received mutual benefit from his decision. Only one team has won the John Tavares decision, and it isn’t the Islanders.
The Islanders were hard done by Tavares. The reality is that the New York Islanders could have gotten so much for such a sought-after star but instead are left thinking what if?
To me, it seems like Tavares’s heart was always in a different place. He has stated that he believes the Islanders have a bright future. So it makes you think why he would leave if he truly believes that.
The reality is, the future was never going to be bright enough to keep him on the Island. Tavares wanted to go back home and live out this “childhood dream”. I can’t even blame him for that.
But he lied. Over and over again he said he wanted to stay and never did. Which resulted in the Islanders getting nothing back for him because he walked for free.
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If Tavares had told management about his true desire, I would feel much differently about him. Uniquely, John Tavares instantaneously went from being the most beloved hero to the most hated villain. All because he wouldn’t let management trade him. The one thing we can count on is he definitely is loyal, just wasn’t to the New York Islanders.