In case you missed it, the Toronto Maple Leafs officially signed superstar free agent John Tavares to a seven year, $77 million deal at the opening of NHL free agency this afternoon:
The Maple Leafs have agreed to terms with free agent forward John Tavares on a seven-year contract. The annual average value of the contract is $11 million.
Tavares joins the Leafs after a week long courting from the New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. During this courting process, rumors swirled that the both the Leafs and Sharks were the frontrunners in the Tavares Sweepstakes, but it’s only now that we know why: money and lots of it.
The interesting thing to note is that Tavares actually left money on the table to sign with his hometown Leafs, reportedly turning down an offer of $91 million from the Sharks and an offer of $90 million from his former team the Islanders.
The Sharks final offer to John Tavares was 7-years, with an AAV of over $13 million per year ($91+ million)
The Islanders final offer was 8-years, with and AAV of $11.25 million ($90 million total).
Tavares took a big home town discount ($77 million total) to come home.
Wow… that’s…. that’s a lot of money. Now, it’s not like JT is going to be hurting for money or anything though. In fact, he’ll receive $15+ million in a signing bonus later today. Check out the structure of this historic contract:
Tavares contract breakdown: Year 1, $650k salary, $15.25M sb; Year 2, $910k salary, $15.25M sb; Year 3, $910k salary, $11.09M sb; Year 4, $910k salary, $8.44M sb; Years 5-7, $910k salary, $7.04M sb in each of those years
Yowl… that’s a LOT of money in bonuses. While Tavares may have left salary on the table… bonuses are guaranteed cash, so it’s clear to see why he opted to take the Leafs’ offer.
The Leafs also waved goodbye to UFA forwards James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak today, but the Tavares signing should no doubt help soften the blow for Leafs fans. With Tavares, Matthews and Nazem Kadri down the middle now, the Leafs boast perhaps the very best center ice position in the entire NHL.