The New York Islanders actually tried to get something back in a trade for John Tavares with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Two years ago John Tavares left the New York Islanders for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency. It was an incident that still leaves a foul taste in the mouth of Isles fans.
It’s not just leaving that fans didn’t like. Tavares earned the right to decided where he wanted to go in free agency. But throughout the 2017-18 season, Tavares made it clear he wanted to stay.
But, as we all know, on the opening day of the 2018 free agency period Tavares left to sign with the Leafs and the Islanders lost their top player and got nothing in return. But it seems that Lou Lamoriello tried to get something from the Maple Leafs for Tavares at the eleventh hour.
The Sign and Trade
The Atheltic’s James Mirtle wrote today about that day two years ago. It seems that Lou, who had been on the job for less than two months with the Isles, had offered the Leafs a sign-and-trade for Tavares (subscription required).
According to Mirtle, the Isles were willing to sign Tavares to an eight-year deal and then trade him to the Leafs. The return: Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, and a draft pick.
Is that a fair deal? I mean, probably. The Isles were going to lose Tavares to the Leafs for nothing in return. The only value the Islanders are giving the Leafs in this trade is helping lower Tavares’ cap hit by a marginal amount.
The Leafs needed to unload Martin. They’d eventually trade him to the Isles for ECHL/AHL goalie Eamon McAdams. Leo Komarov was a pending UFA so he wasn’t worth much in the trade market either. And who knows what that draft pick might have been but I doubt it would have been anything substantial.
Getting that deal done at the eleventh hour would have been difficult to pull off which is why nothing materialized. It’s clear Lou knew Tavares was going to sign with the Leafs and tried to leverage his position, even if that leverage was marginal at best, to get anything from the Leafs.
Lou was in a tough position and tried to make lemonade out of lemons. It didn’t work but he did his due diligence as a GM to get something out of a losing position.