Tavares -- who signed a seven-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Sunday -- will earn $11 million annually over the life of the deal. Somehow, the news of Tavares signing with the Buds didn't get leaked before the free-agency market officially opened Sunday at noon ET. This is perhaps the best player ever to hit the open market in the salary cap era, after all. There were six teams aggressively bidding to acquire Tavares, who has maintained a 0.928 points-per-game pace over nine seasons. While the Islanders were included in that mix and attempted to re-sign him, the club's new GM, Lou Lamoriello, ultimately was unable to pull the right strings despite the fact that his team was said to have been equipped not only with the most money between the potential suitors, but also the exclusive right to offer him a max-term contract (eight years) in free agency. This will be a homecoming for Tavares in Toronto.
Tavares agreed to terms on a seven-year deal with the Maples Leafs on Sunday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports. Tavares was always going to get the max length (seven years), so the term is far from surprising. Toronto -- already a powerhouse team -- should probably now be considered the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
Tavares remains unsigned with free agency beginning at noon ET on Sunday, but the Islanders are out of the running, Arthur Staple of The Athletic New York reports. So much looms on Tavares' decision, as teams that want to sign him also want to retain their other centers if unsuccessful. Tavares is the hottest commodity on the market, and there's five suitors vying for his services. It's unclear when his decision will surface, but expect it to shake the hockey world.
Tavares, who is on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent, did not reach a contract extension with the Islanders on Saturday night; therefore, a seven-year contract will be the maximum length of his next deal, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports. This certainly does not bode well for the Islanders' chances of retaining Tavares. If the star center was going to stay put, then he likely would have been letting the ink dry on an eight-year deal, which is an option only available to players who re-sign with the club that they played for in the previous season.
Tavares' agent Pat Brisson made it known that his camp is still engaged in contract discussions with six teams, and a decision has yet to be made as of Friday evening, according to the SiriusXM NHL Network. Islanders fans are champing at the bit wondering if the prized pivot will stay put or officially sign with a different club when the free-agency signing period opens Sunday. The Athletic suggests that Tavares -- who's maintained a 0.928 points-per-game pace over nine years in the NHL -- may be the "best player to ever go to market in the salary cap era."
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