The Toronto Maple Leafs can now count on new general manager Kyle Dubas to lead them through a better (a longer path) down the postseason. However, the focus must now be on the free agent market, and we don’t only mean the ones currently in the lineup.
The Leafs have a complex puzzle when it comes to their pending free agents while keeping the futures of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander their top priority.
But what if there is now another superstar’s future that is more important than theirs? It seems like the Maple Leafs are very much focused on the future of New York Islanders captain John Tavares. According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Toronto is desperately trying to get a seat at the negotiating table to land Tavares this summer.
“I think the bigger question is who’s going to get to talk to him, right” Friedman pointed out, referring to the free agent interview period at the end of June as per Chris Nichols of FRS Hockey. “Since most of the league might want a chance to talk to Tavares during that time, he and his agent will likely try to narrow the field down to a handful of teams to help the process along.”
“I think everybody is going to call him. I’m sure the Leafs are. I’m sure the Leafs are going to call him and say, ‘Can we make this work.’ I look at it like that. I think we’re going to have teams that we are not even considering who are going to call Tavares and say, ‘Can we get a seat at the table. We want to talk to you.’ Because players like this don’t become available.”
If ever Tavares is interested in hearing the Leafs’ pitch, Toronto and new GM Dubas better have a great proposal in mind to be able to keep key players, like Matthews, Marner and Nylander in the fold, while offering Tavares a great deal for a long future with them.
Friedman added that both the San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights make a lot of sense for Tavares, in terms of length and value for his next big contract. The Sportsnet insider even dared to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins could get in the running for the Tavares sweepstakes. We are also well aware that the Montreal Canadiens are playing quite hard to be the frontrunners for Tavares...
Let's see how desperate the Leafs will be...