NHL All-Star weekend in Tampa Bay saw the recruitment of John Tavares from multiple star players in full steam.
And it’s going to continue as July 1 inches closer.
If Tavares leaves the New York Islanders, it won’t be because of money where the Islanders are already prepared to put an 8 year offer worth at least $12-$13 million per season on the table for when Tavares and his agent Pat Brisson are ready to discuss numbers, something that won’t happen until the summer.
Tavares is extremely loyal to the Islanders organization but the recruitment of Tavares this weekend was so strong because of a belief from NHL executives and players close to Tavares that he is wide open to leaving millions on the table and signing with a contender to put himself in position to compete for Stanley Cups on a yearly basis.
“John just wants to win,” an NHL source said of Tavares. “This decision won’t squarely be on money, role or being the guy.”
Steven Stamkos one of Tavares’ best friends, as expected, has been front and center in recruiting Tavares to Tampa Bay and that continued this weekend.
The Lightning considered a strong contender to sign Tavares, will get a seat at the table if Tavares takes meetings in June and even giving Tampa Bay a seat at the table would be another sign that Tavares isn’t chasing the money, which he isn’t.
In Tampa Bay, General Manager Steve Yzerman has set a standard in setting a number on what to pay his franchise players.
Victor Hedman is at a $7.875 million cap hit long-term, Steven Stamkos at $8.5 million. That wouldn’t change with a pursuit of Tavares.
Joining a legitimate Stanley Cup contender like Tampa Bay or even to a lesser extent Toronto, the Tavares camp knows those teams would be maxed out at $9-$10 million per season.
This notion around the league that Tavares will value joining a consistent winner with star talent in place over money continues to give credence to clubs trying to put themselves in position to be a team that gets a meeting with Tavares this summer during the UFA window.
Super Teams exist in the NBA, could the NHL see a small version of it next season based on few star studded teams expected to get a consideration from Tavares?
The recruitment of Tavares this weekend even included the best player in the world Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"