John Tavares narrows list to five possible teams

John Tavares narrows list to five possible teams

With the NHL draft coming to an end, the focus now shifts to free agency. At the forefront of this year’s UFA class is star centre, John Tavares.

Tavares didn’t reach an extension with the New York Islanders before the beginning of the pre-free agency interview period. As a result, Tavares can meet with five teams prior to the beginning of free agency on July 1. According to Darren Dreger, Tavares will meet with The Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Islanders this week.

Tavares was originally drafted by the Islanders with the first-overall pick in the 2009 draft. He’s played his entire eight-season career on the Island, scoring 621 points over 669 games. Unfortunately, the Islanders have done a poor job at building a team around their franchise player, as they’ve only reached the playoffs three times over Tavares’ career.

This will be Tavares’ first opportunity in his career to test the waters of free agency. After his entry-level deal expired, Tavares inked a very team-friendly five-year deal worth $5.5 million annually. It’s expected that his cap hit could double on his next contract.

Of course, Tavares could end up signing with a different team come July 1 than the aforementioned five teams he’s meeting with, but those appear to be the finalists in the sweepstakes. The fit on the Sharks makes a lot of sense as Tavares can take the torch from future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton. Joining the Lightning would give him the best chance at winning the Stanley Cup immediately. But Tavares is from Toronto so perhaps there’s a childhood dream of winning the Stanley Cup with the Maple Leafs pushing him to try to make something happen there.

The NHL hasn't seen a superstar like Tavares reach unrestricted free agency in a long time. All eyes will be on him until he finally makes his decision. window.fbMessengerPlugins = window.fbMessengerPlugins || { init : function() { FB.init({ appId: "1678638095724206", xfbml: true, version: "v2.6" }); }, callable : [] }; window.fbAsyncInit = window.fbAsyncInit || function() { window.fbMessengerPlugins.callable.forEach( function( item ) { item(); } ); window.fbMessengerPlugins.init(); }; setTimeout( function() { (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) { return; } js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); }, 0);